Though over 85 per cent of the world’s population lives in areas with existing cellular coverage, many people can’t afford to purchase mobile data consistently and others have not yet adopted the internet. During the Covid-19 public health crisis, it is important to help people stay connected and to increase access to health information and other resources on the internet.
This initiative enables underserved communities to access Covid-19 health information through participating operators in more than 55 countries. The WHO Covid-19 information has reached more than two million people so far in nine languages, with other languages to follow in the coming weeks and months.
Accessing basic services on the internet for free
Discover is a mobile web and Android app that can be used to browse any website on the internet using a daily balance of free data from participating mobile operators. Facebook is piloting Discover in a handful of countries. Free Basics enables people with participating operators to access basic services such as health information, job sites, communication tools, education resources, and local government information without data charges.
“WHO is committed to keeping all populations safe and informed during the Covid-19 outbreak and beyond,” said Andrew Pattison, Manager of Digital Solutions at WHO. “This exciting partnership not only helps us ensure the world’s most vulnerable have access to life-saving public health information, but further fosters the democratisation of knowledge around the world.”
This collaboration is part of WHO’s broader initiative to work with technology companies to fight misinformation and ensure people everywhere have access to accurate health information and resources on Covid-19.