It will offer coronavirus-related health tips, feature a symptom checker and allow users to take short health and economic surveys related to the pandemic, Tunde Fafunwa of the UN economic agency in Africa told CNN.
Fafunwa said the platform would analyze anonymous user-generated responses and information from social media platforms using artificial intelligence to identify trends around the outbreak.
Spot infection hotspots
Authorities can also spot potential coronavirus hotspots and direct their social responses to areas from the platform’s information, Fafunwa said
“Some governments are trying to distribute social benefits and cash payments during the pandemic. The platform will give the opportunity to understand the economic and health situation better,” Fafunwa told CNN.
MTN CEO Rob Shuter said the service leverages existing simple narrowband technology that is beneficial for subscribers that don’t have smart phones.
Shuter said aside from its benefit to governments initiatives, operators can use the service to share timely information on the pandemic.
“What we see with Covid-19 is that we don’t really have resources to deploy in an entire country, and this will help target our scarce resources and interventions as a society to where they’re needed,” Shuter said at the launch Tuesday.