Covid-19 information hub now available through SMS
By Staff reporter | 28 Apr 2020 at 00:04hrs
THE Ministry of Health and Child Care in conjunction with Unicef, has partnered mobile network provider, Econet, to launch a Short Message Service (SMS) platform to circulate information about Covid-19 in an effort to reach every citizen in the country.
In a statement, the Ministry of Health said the SMS platform will be free to Econet subscribers who will activate the service by sending an SMS to the number 2019.
The platform complements the existing WhatsApp platform which the Ministry has been using to reach out to citizens to spread educational information and daily updates.
"The Ministry of Health and Child Care and Unicef have made the official Covid-19 information hub available through SMS for free for Econet users. With the support of Econet, access to the information hub is available by sending an SMS from any mobile phone by simply testing the word 'Hi' to number 2019.
"The automated message chatbot uses menu prompts to provide official and latest updates including the Ministry of Health and Child Care daily updates, prevention and general information as well as approved key messages for the public in Zimbabwe," said the Ministry in a statement.
Econet has over 11 million subscribers in Zimbabwe.
The official Covid-19 information hub is available free of charge through SMS for Econet mobile users. The Ministry said the SMS access to information platform is a follow up on the successful WhatsApp information hub which is available for people with phones that can access WhatsApp facility.
The Covid-19 WhatsApp facility has more than 80 000 users who registered for it and more than 1,5 million messages have been exchanged.
"The purpose of the SMS access to the information hub is to reach more people across Zimbabwe particularly in regional and rural populations who may not have smartphones or access to WhatsApp," read the statement.
Media houses and their partners have been urged to promote the SMS and WhatsApp information hubs through their various platforms and inform the people of Zimbabwe how to access the important information.
Members of the public are therefore urged to use the platform to ask questions and receive answers as well as updates pertaining to Covid-19.