The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) with support from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has activated a short code– “6232”. This number has been introduced as a means for the public to contact NCDC’s Connect Centre and access verified information on COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.
According to Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director-General, NCDC, “The short code is a toll free and easy-to-remember number, which means that all calls to NCDC through “6232” are free of charge. This is to ensure all Nigerians have access to verified information on infectious diseases.”
“In 2016, NCDC established its Connect Centre as a critical aspect of its event-based
surveillance and risk communications strategy. Over the years, this has been used for the response to infectious disease outbreaks such as Lassa fever, monkeypox, yellow fever, cerebrospinal meningitis etc.
“Following the confirmation of Nigeria’s first COVID-19 case, NCDC immediately expanded its Connect Centre capacity to meet the increasing need for information by Nigerians.
This was done in close collaboration with relevant government institutions and with support from our partners. The call lines were expanded to receive multiple calls simultaneously, automated chatbots were activated to disseminate information in real-time, additional human resource and volunteers were engaged, and a new quality assurance system was introduced. Between March and December 2020, the NCDC Connect Centre received over 580,000 COVID-19 related phone calls.
The short code number ‘6232’ will be used alongside the existing toll free number – ‘08009700 0010’, with a gradual phase-out of the existing toll free number.
Chikwe in his statement of appreciation expresses his gratitude to NCC and other partners for the realisation of the initiative.
“We thank the NCC and our partners at the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, GAVI,
UNICEF, University of Maryland Baltimore (UMB), Georgetown University, Resolve to Save Lives and Interra Networks for their support. Additionally, we recognise and thank mobile network providers in Nigeria – Globacom, MTN, Airtel, 9mobile – who have continued to support our efforts in communicating with Nigerians.
“The NCDC remains strongly committed to work with relevant government institutions and partners to protect the health of Nigerians. We urge the public to use the short code responsibly, in accessing verified information on COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.
It is very important that all Nigerians continue to adhere to public health and safety measures including regular handwashing, physical distancing and proper use of facemasks.