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Facebook launches Coronavirus Information Centre in 17 African countries

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Facebook announced that it would be expanding its Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information Centre to 17 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

According to Facebook, the information centre forms part of the company’s “effort to help the global fight against COVID-19 by provided people with the latest news”.

The information shared by the Centre can be traced back to trusted health authorities and includes tips and advice on how to stay healthy; not only for individuals but as families and communities too.

It’s important, now more than ever, for communities to come together, and for individuals to support each other without stigma or judgement.

How to access the COVID-19 Information Centre

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information Centre is featured at the top of the News Feed and provides a central place for people to keep informed about the Coronavirus.

The page, which can also be accessed via this link, includes real-time updates from around the world, from trusted national and international health authorities.

You will also find links to helpful articles, resources, videos and posts pertaining to hygiene, symptoms, social distancing, self-isolation and how to flatten the curve.

Expanding to 17 African countries

In addition, Facebook users can choose to opt in to follow the centre to get notifications. The Coronavirus Information Centre has already launched in South Africa, it will now be expanded to the following African countries:

  • Benin 
  • Burkina Faso 
  • Cameroon 
  • Cape Verde 
  • Côte d’Ivoire 
  • Ethiopia 
  • Gabon
  • Guinea 
  • Kenya 
  • Mali 
  • Mauritania 
  • Senegal 
  • Seychelles 
  • The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) 
  • Togo 

According to Facebook’s Head of Public Policy, Africa, Kojo Boakye, the information will be managed in collaboration with national health partners “to ensure that people get access to information from trusted health sourced”. Boakye adds:

“The launch of the COVID-19 Information Centre on Facebook in more than 17 countries across sub-Saharan Africa aligns with our commitment to making accurate, timely information about the pandemic accessible to all communities.”

Tools to assist researchers combat COVID-19

Facebook announced earlier in April that the company’s Data for Good program will be utilised to assist researchers and nonprofit organisation to understand the coronavirus crisis.

“Flattening the global COVID-19 curve is a challenge that takes all of us. As people distance themselves to protect their communities and healthcare workers save lives on the front lines, hospitals are working to get the right resources, and public health systems are looking to put the right guidelines in place.”

Facebook’s aggregated data is valuable in the fight against COVID-19, and Facebook unveiled new tools to assist researchers and scientists in their work. These tools include:

  • Three new types of Disease Prevention Maps to help inform disease forecasting efforts and protective measures 
  • A prompt on Facebook encouraging people in the US to participate in a voluntary survey from Carnegie Mellon University Delphi Research Center designed to help health researchers identify COVID-19 hotspots earlier

Source: The South African Read More

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