Daily Insights

What’s Up on WhatsApp

By: Mackenzie Baker | May 07, 2020

The World Health Organization (WHO) has partnered with WhatsApp to deliver Coronavirus-related health alerts. 

The WHO is launching a dedicated message alert system in Arabic, French, Spanish, and English to provide the latest news and information on Coronavirus, including detailed symptom lists and tips on self-protection. Facebook-owned WhatsApp had the highest global download rates in 2018, according to a Gartner report. Since then, the app has continued to grow. Currently, the WHO has the potential to reach up to two billion people with its new service via WhatsApp. To launch the alert service, WhatsApp users text “hi” to a dedicated WHO number in whichever language they want their alerts in. 

Not only will the alert system help health officials communicate accurate and up-to-date information, but the alerts can assist governments by quickly updating citizens on regulatory changes, such as lockdowns or hospital notices. Since the Coronavirus was deemed a pandemic, WhatsApp has seen a 40% increase in global usage as people frequent the app to connect with friends, family, doctors, and teachers. With millions using the app each day, it makes sense the WHO would leverage user increase by delivering facts and resources right from the platform. 

The WHO is extending its reach by working with UNICEF and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to provide factual information to citizens-at-scale in countries such as Indonesia and Brazil—the latter having some of the highest WhatsApp user rates in the world. With the alert system, billions of people around the world can now access credible safety tips during the Coronavirus pandemic.