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Africa to roll out mobile based communications on COVID-19 pandemic

Africa is about to roll out a groundbreaking mobile based public communications platform to provide more than 600 million users across the continent with the latest public health advice.UN Economic Commission for Africa on Friday said the Africa Communications Information Platform (ACIP) will also furnish national and regional COVID task forces with user generated survey data and actionable health and economic insights. 

By improving national data and statistics, ACIP will enable authorities to better analyze pandemic related problems and implement appropriate responses. The platform will also allow COVID-taskforces to deploy health and economic resources to mitigate the pandemic’s impact.

The Platform will be launched at an online event hosted by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa on June 23 at 1400 EAT (East Africa Time/GMT+3) 

Robust and easy to use, the platform uses a mixture of text and voice operated menus. The free to use service was developed by the UN Economic Commission for Africa -in collaboration with 4 major mobile network operators and a data integrator. 

The platform harnesses mobile narrowband channels using a combination of text (USSD) and voice interactions (IVR).  On the broadband side, the platform uses public data from digital channels, including online and social media. By using mobile narrowband and broadband, the platform can reach 3G/smartphone users and mobile subscribers with earlier generation 2G handsets, also known as feature phones.

The rollout of Phase One starting June 23 2020, will cover mobile users across more than 23 countries, representing more than 80% of Africa’s total mobile subscribers. Users will be able to access locally relevant health advisories and medical advice including a symptom checker. 

Published on 28.04.2020

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