Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, 7 million Egyptians with disabilities are among the most vulnerable groups. How can they test their symptoms? How can they access reliable information, know about symptoms and assess whether they need assistance? Wasel, which means in Arabic connected, is an automated testing service that uses chatbot and artificial intelligence technology in sign language to enable access to information for the hearing impaired. It is the first in Africa and in the Middle East to use sign language chatbot technology.
Wasel has provided a platform for the persons with hearing impairments to test their symptoms through the online application. Following the World Health Organization (WHO) and Egypt’s Ministry of Health protocol, the chatbot asks the user a number of questions using sign language. The service is available 24/7, including providing support to those experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, through connecting them to the responsible government agency to receive the necessary care.