HealthBuddy, a multilingual interactive chatbot, is the newest tool to be launched as a resource for countries in Europe and Central Asia in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The chatbot, developed by WHO/Europe and UNICEF Europe and Central Asia Regional Office (ECARO), will help countries in the region to access accurate information, and counter misinformation surrounding the virus.
The coronavirus pandemic is definitely a bad thing. Sadly, people can make bad things even worse than they already are. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that the coronavirus pandemic is unleashing “a tsunami of hate and xenophobia, scapegoating and scare-mongering”. He also provided several examples of how this pandemic is quickly becoming a “human rights crisis.”
TikTok isn’t only useful for practical health information—although doctors and nurses have been showing off some killer moves over the past few weeks, and reaching teenagers who might otherwise be missed by the UK government’s lacking communication strategy. It is also providing a sense of community, something that is more and more important as the possibility of lockdown looms longer, and digital spaces shift from being a secondary aspect of our social lives, to being a an essential space for maintaining social connections. For teenagers, this is particularly important.
Everyone is clamoring for local news right now. They want to know who is sick, what businesses are open, and, most importantly, if there is space in the hospitals near them. However, local news has not felt this support in its revenue–rather, the opposite. In fact, it might be on the verge of extinction due to the economic fall out from the COVID-19 pandemic. What does this mean for the communities whose stories rarely make it to the national and international media?