by DANAI MWARUMBWA
HARARE, (ItNews Zimbabwe) – ZIMBABWEAN rural populations without smartphones or access to WhatsApp can now access vital information on the coronavirus (COVID-19).
This follows the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) as well as the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) making the Official COVID-19 Information Hub available through SMS free on the mobile network, Econet.
With the support of Econet, access to the Information Hub is available by sending an SMS from any mobile phone.
Econet has over 11 million mobile subscribers in Zimbabwe, a country with an estimated 14,8 million people.
The automated messaging chatbot uses menu prompts to provide official and latest updates including MoHCC daily updates, prevention and general information as well as approved key messages for the general public in Zimbabwe.
The SMS access to the Information Hub is a follow-up on from the successful WhatsApp Information Hub, available for people with phones that can access WhatsApp.
Officials confirmed to date more than 80 000 users have registered on the WhatsApp Hub.
More than 1,5 million messages exchanged.
MoHCC and UNICEF urged media and partners to promote the SMS and WhatsApp Information Hubs through their platforms and inform citizens how to access the information.
Zimbabwe has confirmed 32 cases and four deaths from COVID-19.