Yasas Vishuddhi Abeywickrama - Policy Programs Manager Sri Lanka Facebook, Dr. Palitha Karunapema - Director of the Health Promotion Bureau
Yesterday, Sri Lanka’s Health Promotion Bureau (HPB) launched an automated Messenger experience, with support from Facebook and Arimac Digital, a digital product development company, to ensure that people in Sri Lanka are kept up to date, and have access to the right information during the current, COVID-19 health situation. The automated experience will help people to determine if they need to be seen by a doctor for the coronavirus, and to get the latest updates on the number of cases, quarantining guidelines for coronavirus and how to stay safe. It also helps people to find medical resources and provides answers to the most common questions about the coronavirus.
“This will be a new chapter in the provision of on-demand health information to the public that holds the potential to diversify and provide customized health information to support the management of other common illnesses of lifestyle origin as well. The Facebook team has been a long term partner that has supported the Health Promotion Bureau in establishing a responsible digital footprint in Sri Lanka to empower our citizens to make the most of the digital media platforms,” said Director of the Health Promotion Bureau, Dr. Palitha Karunapema. “We wish to extend our gratitude to the Ministry of Health for their continued support, Dr. Amila Kankanamge, Chamira Jayasinghe and the Arimac team who were instrumental in providing the technical support in developing these platforms free of charge for the Health Promotion Bureau. I’d also like to thank my team of doctors at the Health Promotion Bureau that worked tirelessly to establish and maintain these platforms around the clock - Dr. Jeewaranga Gunasekara, Dr. Ashan Pathirana, Dr. Kusal Weerasinghe, Dr. Asanka Eriyawa, Dr. Supun Wijesinghe and Dr. Priyanga Ranasinghe.”
"We believe that technology and innovation can play an important role in how we respond to COVID-19," said Chamira Jayasinghe, Founder and CEO, Arimac Digital. "We built this automated messenger bot experience with help from Facebook on behalf of the Health Promotion Bureau to help control the spread of COVID-19 in Sri Lanka."
Facebook is strongly committed to supporting the work of leading, credible health organizations such as the World Health Organizations (WHO) and the work of local health organizations in order to help keep people safe and informed during COVID-19. This includes: ensuring that people have access to accurate health information, removing harmful content, reducing the spread of harmful misinformation and supporting the work of health organizations.
“As global and national health authorities are working to respond to the coronavirus, we at Facebook are working to connect people with accurate information from Sri Lanka’s health organisations in order to help ensure that communities in Sri Lanka stay safe and informed. We’re pleased to support the work of the Health Promotion Bureau and the launch of this automated Messenger experience which will help the HPB scale their support and serve citizens during this difficult time,” said Yasas Vishuddhi Abeywickrama, Policy Programs Manager, Sri Lanka, Facebook.
For more information on the HPB Messenger experience, please check out: https://www.facebook.com/messages/t/hpbsrilanka