Coronavirus: Public awareness campaign via caller tunes is an innovative way to fight spread

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March 10, 2020 12:45 AM

Political parties have found innovative ways to harness this—indeed, the BJP ran a missed call programme to boost membership in 2015, and a similar campaign more recently to muster support for CAA.

Given how coronavirus has been spreading across the country—43 confirmed cases so far—it is vital that the government generates awareness while fighting panic. Given how coronavirus has been spreading across the country—43 confirmed cases so far—it is vital that the government generates awareness while fighting panic.

Vietnam may not have tackled cases of coronavirus as efficiently as South Korea has, but the country’s catchy public awareness anthem on coronavirus—an animated video featuring a song intended to create awareness on prevention—is certainly earning it bouquets online. It even threw a dance challenge, which is now attracting millions of views on social media. India’s efforts may not be as catchy, but they’re certainly a step in the right direction. Given the country’s mobile-phone spread, the government has asked telcos to set a 30-second coronavirus advisory as the caller tune. So, instead of the usual ring, callers hear an awareness message.

Messaging strategy involving mobile telephony is not new in India, given the promise of reach. Political parties have found innovative ways to harness this—indeed, the BJP ran a missed call programme to boost membership in 2015, and a similar campaign more recently to muster support for CAA. But, this is likely the first time the government has used this a for public health. Given how coronavirus has been spreading across the country—43 confirmed cases so far—it is vital that the government generates awareness while fighting panic. Without a survey to this effect in the future, it would be hard to say if the campaign was well-strategised. But, if it proves successful, the government could consider using a similar campaign to increase voter awareness during elections and to check fake news.

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