Ask RAKSHA: A new health information and fact checking WhatsApp chatbot by THIP Media

On World Health Day, health information and fact checking platform THIP Media has announced a new chatbot ‘Ask RAKSHA’ on WhatsApp. RAKSHA, an acronym for Readily Accessible Knowledge and Support for Health Action, is built on WhatsApp's Business Platform. The intuitive chatbot will help Indian citizens find answers to their health question and fact check any health information for free. Users can also further subscribe to daily health tips or play a quiz to evaluate their health knowledge. The chatbot is currently in English but the company confirmed that a Hindi and Bengali version will be launched soon.

Shivnath Thukral, Public Policy Director, WhatsApp India, said, “We’re pleased to support the launch of ‘Ask RAKSHA’ - The Healthy Indian Project’s chatbot built on the WhatsApp Business platform that will help users access credible health related information from the independent third-party fact-checker, certified by International Fact-Checking Network. At WhatsApp, the safety of our users is at the core of everything we do and we have devoted efforts to empower users with resources and tools that equip them to fact-check and receive authentic information. Over the last two years we have partnered with multiple NGOs and government ministries, including the Indian Government to launch the MyGov Corona Helpdesk on WhatsApp to help people with easy access to accurate and verified Covid related information. Ask RAKSHA is yet another partnership to ensure citizens have access to reliable information around health-related queries.”

To access the chatbot and start a conversation with RAKSHA, users will just need to send a “Hi” to the number +91-85078-85079 on WhatsApp. “We are thankful to WhatsApp for the support in building this chatbot. It helps us extend THIP Media’s objective of making credible health information available to all Indians and also save them from health misinformation. Ask RAKSHA will be powered by THIP Media’s constantly growing database of health information and fact-checks,” Sudipta Sengupta, CEO of The Healthy Indian Project (THIP) said in a statement.

THIP Media, a signatory of International Fact Checking Network (IFCN) works with verified medical professionals to fact check misleading news and claims about health, medicine, diet and treatment. The platform publishes in English, Hindi, Bengali, Punjabi, Gujarati and Nepali.