WhatsApp is seen with other mobile apps on a smartphone in Beijing, Tuesday, July 18, 2017. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
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A new digital instant messaging tool that relies on smartphone application WhatsApp has been developed by the WHO and its partners to detect, verify and log the devastating consequences of such attacks.The new tool piloted in Gaziantep by health organizations working in Syria involves a WhatsApp group of nearly 300 trusted contacts on the ground.In Syria, the WhatsApp tool reported 402 attacks against health facilities and medical workers between November 2015 and December 2016, although the WHO said its rigorous verification process later confirmed a far lower number of 158 attacks in that period.In Nigeria, South Africa and Tanzania, up to 90 percent of smartphone owners regularly use at least one messaging service, such as WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger, according to a study issued last month by GSMA Mobile Economy.During the 2014 Ebola epidemic in West Africa, 25,000 people subscribed to the BBC's first "Lifeline" humanitarian service using WhatsApp.
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