UNICEF and EPAM partner to build trusted 'HealthBuddy COVID-19' information platform, designed to protect children and families across Europe and Central Asia during pandemic and beyond
- What’s the News: EPAM has engineered an innovative mobile platform to enhance the web-based ‘HealthBuddy COVID-19’ chatbot app, developed by the United Nations Children’s Fund/Europe and Central Asia Regional Office (UNICEF ECARO), as a reliable source of information and advice related to COVID-19.
- Why it Matters: As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to upend lives, access to relevant and reliable facts remains vital to support emergency risk communications, and promote protective and preventive behaviors at the community and individual levels.
- Who is it for: National authorities, public health institutions, social service agencies, families and individuals. The app is currently available in English, Greek, Italian, Kazakh, Macedonian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Turkish.
NEWTOWN, PA – JULY 09, 2020 – EPAM Systems, Inc. (NYSE: EPAM), a leading global provider of digital platform engineering and software development services, is pleased to announce it has entered into a partnership with UNICEF ECARO to build a multi-featured ‘HealthBuddy COVID-19’ information app designed to protect children, families and communities across Europe and Central Asia. Merging the common features and functions of EPAM’s COVID Resistance app with UNICEF ECARO’s interactive web-based HealthBuddy chatbot app, EPAM has engineered a new platform that enables users to access trusted information while promoting protective and preventive behaviors at the individual and community levels during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
“Reaching children, young people and parents in the Region with reliable and accurate messages about COVID-19 is an important part of addressing the myths and countering the misinformation around the pandemic,” says Afshan Khan, UNICEF’s Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia. “We welcome this partnership with EPAM to enhance the HealthBuddy chatbot app’s features, services and versatility. We also appreciate EPAM’s commitment to work with UNICEF in the pandemic response, as we continuously strive to protect every child.”
Currently available in English, Greek, Italian, Kazakh, Macedonian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Turkish, the ‘HealthBuddy COVID-19’ chatbot can be tailored by national authorities and public health institutions in local languages and utlized for a wide range of potential public health emergencies or for promoting life-saving behaviors like vaccination in the future. Below are just a few of its features and uses:
- The general public can receive public health messages and information, share opinions, report rumors, ask questions to public health workers, participate in surveys/polls at different stages of the pandemic, to assess the secondary impact of COVID-19, and use self-assessment tools to prevent the spread of Coronavirus.
- Health authorities can send alerts regarding those who confirm or suspect they have the virus, with opt-in and opt-out features for exposure notification to help in real-time monitoring of the situation.
- Health workers can access a knowledge library for information on how to manage cases, get alerts for new developments, medicines and best practices, and utilize exposure notification tools to monitor infected cases when the exposure notification feature is deployed. By having access to updated information and people’s concerns/sentiments about COVID-19, at different stages of the pandemic, health workers will be better equipped to interact and communicate with families and communities with relevant and timely messages.
“We are proud to be a part of UNICEF’s collaborative effort to protect children and families,” says Arkadiy Dobkin, CEO, EPAM Systems. “COVID-19 is a difficult virus to track, as many individuals who are contagious do not show symptoms and many regions are faced with a lack of conclusive testing or unclear guidance, which makes it more likely for the contagion to spread. By merging, adapting and expanding the combined features of our applications, we are enabling a platform that can provide critical, up-to-date information and help control the spread of the virus.”
In addition to engineering the GDPR- and HIPAA-compliant app, EPAM will provide in-kind technical support through December 31, 2021 to ensure the success of the platform.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit https://www.unicef.org/eca/.