New public health emergency response online platform unveiled in Ethiopia

ETHIOPIA – Ethiopia has inaugurated an advanced digital platform dubbed ‘8335’ that offers sustainable public health emergency information to the public in five different languages to empower citizens in the management of their health.

The online platform, 8335, provides reliable and timely early warning information, detection and monitoring using both voice and text messages to reach a large section of society especially during urgent times when public health threats arise.

The platform receives public health information from the COVID-19 portal and District Health Information System 2 (DHIS-2) as well as other relevant data systems from the Ministry of Health and partners.

Additionally, the platform provides health information in different languages making it more accessible to a larger number of the population interested in accessing the digital healthcare services and has digital technology that responds to frequently asked questions through Interactive Voice Response (IVR).

The online platform provides public health emergency information concerning issues such as COVID-19, yellow fever, cholera, and guinea worm and the recent outbreak of monkeypox to educate the public about infectious diseases.

The digital healthcare services will also ensure that citizens and their families have general knowledge and awareness about diseases leading them to take necessary preventive measures as well as eased access to health information on how to respond to disease outbreaks.

In addition, the digital health information system has boosted the capacity of the existing national public health emergency contact center with the first month of service totaling over 300,000 calls and 100,000 unique callers making inquiries on public health problems.

The new digital platform was launched through a joint partnership between Ethiopia’s Ministry of Health and the Ethiopian Public Health Institute (EPHI) along with the Ministry of Innovation and Technology and the Mastercard Foundation to improve healthcare access.

The Ethiopian Public Health Institute is further working to enhance public health in Ethiopia by conducting research on prioritized areas related to health and nutrition, realizing practical utilization of information and advancement of technology, effective public health emergency

Moreover, the Ministry of Innovation and the Mastercard Foundation developed the online information system in a way that serves affected areas and displaced people in some parts of the country who can now access important mental and psychosocial support information in an efficient manner.

The technologically advanced system will also greatly enhance the country’s current health system since the public health emergency contact center integrates digital service provision of basic information relating to the fiver public hazards including COVID-19 as well as receiving alerts from the public.

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