Spread awareness, not fear— UNICEF reaches 14 million people in Iraq through SMS with critical information related to Covid-19
Baghdad, Iraq, 31 May 2020 – Approximately 14 million people in Iraq have been reached with critical information related on Covid-19 to increase awareness and combat dangerous misinformation spreading online and offline.
“Technology is playing a key role in bringing people together as we maintain social distancing, but unfortunately it’s also being used to spread misinformation and fake news, fueling anxiety and stigma at a time when we must come together in solidarity against a common enemy,” said Hamida Lasseko, UNICEF’s Representative in Iraq.
“Alongside our partners, we are combating misinformation and communicating on multiple channels and in multiple languages to ensure parents, young people and children have the correct and necessary information to care for themselves and their loved one,“ she added.
UNICEF has partnered with telecommunication companies like Korek Telecom, Zain and Asia Cell to provide people with reliable information on prevention, as well as mental and physical health during the pandemic. Through Korek Telecom, 4 million people have been reached on the U-report chatbot, SMS and Viber.
In the south and center zones, an additional 10 million people have been reached through partnerships with Zain and Asia cell. Messages have been delivered in Arabic and Kurdish.
“We are calling on all Iraqis to be health champions and to fight misinformation in their communities. Every single of us can make a difference— please stay vigilant to keep yourselves safe from the virus and to also guard against misinformation. To learn more about Covid-19, please visit UNICEF and WHO websites,” concluded Lasseko.
In partnership with young volunteers and other organizations, UNICEF is also conducting awareness raising campaigns to reach people in camps and non-camps settings.
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 www.unicef.org/mena
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