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How to get information on corona virus using Kenyan government’s WhatsApp chatbot

The Kenyan government is leaving nothing to chance when it comes to its efforts in curbing the current pandemic, amongst traditional contact options for Kenyans seeking more information on the current outbreak, Kenyans will now have an option of using technology through WhatsApp after the health ministry unveiled a WhatsApp chatbot. A chatbot is basically an automated software program that can be hosted on several platforms such as telegram or WhatsApp used to relay information and perform certain actions depending on the user input.

Several companies in the country have employed the use of chatbots as an option to solve common customer care queries such as Safaricom with its Zuri feature and Zuku with its Zuku telegram bot. a WhatsApp bot such as the one deployed by the health ministry works in a similar way based on the social media platform which offers end to end encryption messaging.

The official WhatsApp number for the chatbot is 0110719719, it has information regarding the current outbreak embedded, that is provided to users upon request.

The WhatsApp chatbot was unveiled by Health Chief Administrative Secretary Rashid Aman during the daily Covid-19 briefing at Afya House on Monday. He said the bot would provide additional information to Kenyans seeking to educate themselves on the outbreak. The feature offers an efficient way for Kenyans to educate themselves as questions are answered in real-time with the only requirement being data.

How to start using the Chatbot for covid-19 related information

  • First, you’ll need to save the WhatsApp number 0110719719 to your contact list
  • Proceed to launch WhatsApp app on your phone, if you don’t have WhatsApp installed, you’ll need to download it from respective app store and register.
  • While on WhatsApp, search for the contact name you used i.e. “Government WhatsApp” if that’s what you used.
  • Then start chatting with something like “hey”
  • You’ll be requested to choose your preferred language between English and Kiswahili
  • After which various options will be relayed, you can answer with the number next to the preferred option.

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