WHO Health Alert Service Adds Artificial Intelligence Features

The World Health Organization (WHO) says its new Health Alert service, launched in March on the Facebook Messenger app, has been upgraded with artificial intelligence (AI) features that will provide users with a better interactive experience and more accurate information, while also allowing the WHO to respond more quickly to commonly asked questions.

The WHO launched dedicated messaging services initially in seven languages, including Arabic, English, French, Hindi, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese. That number has doubled since the launch and now includes Bangla, Mandarin, Dari, Japanese, Pashto, Russian, and Somali), with more languages coming. The easy-to-use service has the potential to reach 2 billion people, the organization says, and enables the WHO to get information directly into the hands of the people that need it.

Developed with Customer Experience Management (CXM) platform provider Sprinklr, the upgrade adds two advanced AI features to the service:

  • Conversational AI capabilities: The English version of the WHO Health Alert service on Messenger was enhanced with conversational AI capabilities. Users can now type concerns in natural language and obtain official WHO health information, advice, and guidance on COVID-19.
  • New AI-powered answers: If automatic answers are not available for certain questions, Sprinklr analyzes these queries and automatically groups them into themes to help WHO determine which new answers should be added to the WHO Health Alert service. As a result, six new answers have been added over the past month related to questions about antibody testing, catching COVID-19 twice, the end of COVID-19, the end of the lockdown, a second COVID-19 wave, and a recovery period.
  • Shareable images: The WHO Health Alert service now automatically sends images illustrating country-specific COVID-19 statistics. These images will be shared when a user asks for the latest statistics of a particular country.
  • Daily COVID Statistics Subscription: Users can sign up to receive a daily COVID-19 statistics flashcard from the WHO Health Alert group. These alerts have helped increase engagement by six times for the service since April 2020, Sprinkler says

The WHO Health Alert service is part of WHO's continuing efforts to ensure that people have access to reliable and trustworthy sources of information on COVID-19 during the global pandemic, the organization said in a statement.

The upgraded messaging experience was developed with Sprinklr as part of the WHO Technology for COVID-19 Initiative, a pro-bono collaboration of technology companies brought together by the WHO to fight the pandemic. The WHO Health Alert services was developed in partnership with using machine learning (ML) technology.

The WHO Health Alert service AI-powered chatbot is part of Sprinklr's new Citizen Experience Management Platform. Sprinklr Citizen Experience Management is helping organizations make informed decisions, combat misinformation, and ensure that citizens get the facts they need.

The WHO Health Alert service on Messenger from Facebook can be accessed online.


About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at