Turkiye, 16th March 2023 - HERA, a mobile health (mHealth) platform designed for refugee populations, and Turn.io have announced a partnership to improve access to healthcare for those impacted by the earthquake in Turkiye. The devastating earthquake that hit Turkiye on February 6 has claimed at least 45,000 lives, rendered millions homeless and caused substantial damage estimated at $34 billion – or roughly 4% of the country’s annual economic output, according to the World Bank.
At such an hour of need, HERA alongside Turn.io is on a mission to remove demand-side barriers to healthcare. HERA's user-facing, open-sourced app has been used to serve Syrian refugees in Turkiye and is now being rolled out for earthquake victims in Turkiye.
This partnership between HERA and Turn.io has twofold benefits. First, it enables disaster survivors to find help/support areas in the region. Secondly, NGOs can send data easily via WhatsApp to display it on HERA's crisis services map. The ultimate goal is to ensure that support institutions and disaster victims find each other quickly and stay up-to-date with the healthcare centres and mobile resources, thus increasing the impact.
On the 13th of February, 2023, a meeting was held between members of the Hera team and Turn.io Impact team to discuss the implementation of a disaster response idea proposed by Hera. Hera, an organization located in Turkiye, had already deployed their field workers to the site and expressed interest in developing a chat service capable of receiving updates on the locations of mobile clinics, toilets, pharmacies, and other related facilities. These updates would then be plotted on a responsive map, which would be accessible via a URL to the earthquake victims and anyone with access to it. The service was designed to be available in English, Arabic, and Turkish languages. Within a few days of the initial discussion, Hera confirmed the availability of a volunteer developer to collaborate with them to develop the chat service on Turn.io. The multilingual service went live on March 4th, 2023, after a mere 20 days of development, not short of a record in crisis response.
HERA and Turn.io's partnership is a significant step in improving access to healthcare for vulnerable populations. By combining HERA's user-facing app with Turn.io's technology and expertise in building software products for social impact organizations, both companies are committed to addressing healthcare access challenges for refugees and disaster victims.
To see the helpline working real-time or to add your mobile service on the map, visit https://helpbot.heradigitalhealth.org/
HERA helps refugees and forcibly displaced populations such as disaster victims, internally displaced persons access healthcare through a digital health platform, regardless of where they are from. HERA’s user-facing opensourced, and free mobile app helps users navigate the local health system, call emergency services, carry their health records digitally, plan out their immunization or pregnancy care appointments and receive up to date health information. Although HERA was initially used in the Syrian refugee community in Turkiye, currently it is being used to serve other refugee populations in the world and rolled out for the earthquake victims in Turkiye, regardless of their nationality. The help bot is live here: https://helpbot.heradigitalhealth.org/