AI helps answer thousands of health queries in Zambia via SMS

SMS has proven an exceptionally useful technology in parts of Africa GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/AFP/Getty Images For many people in Zambia with health queries, sending a text message is the best way to get it answered. U-report, a free SMS-based service set up by UNICEF and run by volunteers, receives many thousands of questions a month, many specifically about HIV and AIDS. Also popular in Uganda, U-report has seen usage triple in the last three years, and about a thousand new users register every day. The volume of messages is growing so fast that the volunteers can’t keep up, so UNICEF is testing software that reads and responds to many of the messages automatically. In Zambia, there are roughly 27,000 new HIV infections a year, according to UNICEF, and 40 per cent…


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