19 Mar 2020  |   06:28am IST

Health Dept launches COVID-19 information and awareness 'Chatbot'

Health Dept launches COVID-19 information and awareness 'Chatbot'

Team Herald

PANJIM: In a bid to clear the apprehensions of the people vis-a-vis coronavirus, Health Minister Vishwajit Rane on Wednesday launched Cobot-19 - a COVID-19 Information and Awareness Chatbot for citizens of the State. 

Addressing mediapersons, Rane said that Goa is the first State in India to harness the power of technology for disseminating information related to coronavirus. 

“The aim is to provide people with access to authentic, helpful and easy-to-understand information about the disease. The Chatbot has been developed in association with Portea Medical and Verloop,” he said. 

Rane added, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged all stakeholders to come together and make the best use of technology to tackle the ongoing health crisis. 

“With the Chatbot, people will be able to resolve their queries regarding the precautions to be taken to avoid getting infected; diet to boost immunity; health department contact information in case of emergency, among other things,” he says.

Rane added that the State has taken inspiration from the Singapore Government, which harnessed the power of WhatsApp recently. “We have created this Chatbot as a unified official point of communication for all Covid-19 related information. It is revolutionary and will be an effective interface to stem the flow of misinformation and clear doubts around the disease. We thank Portea Medical and Verloop for their support.”

All the data has been gathered from trusted sources including the World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Johns Hopkins. Verloop, a Customer Support and Engagement Automation Platform has developed the technical aspects of the bot. 

Speaking about the association, Meena Ganesh, MD and CEO, Portea Medical, said, “The highly effective Cobot-19 will be an authentic and credible information source on COVID-19. It will help in busting myths around the condition and ensure that people take timely precautions and action to combat the disease in the right manner.” 

Gaurav Singh, Founder, Verloop, added, “It will also provide information on helpline numbers for any emergency.”

Rane further explained that to use the Chatbot, people must save the WhatsApp number +917948058218 in their contacts. Once they access the message, the bot will greet them with a welcome message and ask them to choose from the available options depending on the information they need. The bot is available in English and Konkani language currently.

IDhar UDHAR

Idhar Udhar