The Ministry of Health and Child Care has joined hands with Econet and UNICEF to deliver information related to the Novel Coronavirus at no cost using SMS.
According to the Ministry of Health, the service will be available for every Econet subscriber who texts “Hi” to the number 2019 with updates on local and global cases, lockdown, symptoms, prevention tips and much more available.
The effort is a follow up to the Ministry’s COVID-19 WhatsApp chatbot which they said reached 80 000. SMS of course will potentially reach many more people as they do not require expensive data bundles to access the information;
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
Ministry of Health statement
To maximise the impact of such a tool, the Ministry of Health should also look to offer something similar for NetOne and Telecel subscribers. Lastly, the government’s tools need to be more inclusive and offer this information in Shona and Ndebele as well.