Sunday, May 22, 2022

WhatsApp launches a new health awareness chatbot exclusively for young women in India

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WhatsApp in partnership with non-profit Girl Effect announced on Wednesday that they will be launching Artificial Intelligence(AI)-based chatbot ‘Bol Behen’ which translates to Speak Sister. This has been launched with the aim of helping adolescent girls and young women who have queries with respect to general health and sexual wellbeing.

The app has been designed to provide content on topics with respect to women’s reproductive health, sexuality, and relationships in a chat format on WhatsApp. The users can talk in Hinglish, a mix of Hindi and English, with the chatbot. Users are also free to ask as many questions as they want on multiple topics.

In order to be able to access the Bol Behen chatbot, users will have the send ‘Hi’ to the number +91-7304496601 on WhatsApp, or alternatively, you can visit its profile on the Web. WhatsApp claims that this new chatbot will target adolescent girls and younger women in the Northern belt of India or in Hindi-dominated regions where the users own low-end smartphones with limited internet bandwidth.

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The chatbot is projected to reach millions of girls across India to answer their health curiosities and concerns and connect them to better services in the near future.

Prior to this endeavor, Girl Effect had first launched the Bol Behen chatbot in India on Facebook Messenger in 2020. It recorded nearly 100,000 lakh conversations, with over 1.6 million messages received.

The chatbot was inspired by a similar chatbot that was launched in South Africa and was named Big Sis to offer free and non-judgmental advice on sensitive topics related to women’s sexual health and relationships.

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Kanishk Kabiraj, Girl Effect Country Lead for India stated, “WhatsApp’s technology offers us the opportunity to forge closer links between girls and the health services they need, providing content that solves her concerns and encourages her to access healthcare, through connection with curated and vetted providers.”

He also added that “This will help us to deliver more seamless, personalized healthcare journeys in the future, for example, leading to girls booking appointments, getting reminders, and sharing feedback all within Bol Behen.”

Girl Effect works to reach girls and young women across Africa and Asia with chatbots, chat shows, and TV dramas to give them knowledge about their bodies and health. This new chatbot aims to target younger girls and will lead to faster spreading of authentic information with respect to women’s health and hygiene.

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