Wikimedia Zero is an agreement Wikipedia has with many cell phone providers to allow Wikipedia use for free without data charges. Current agreements have been signed that benefit / will benefit 500 to 750 million people. It launched in Nepal just a few weeks ago and is already available in parts of Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
The benefit is that as Wikipedia improves so does the health content that people are able to access. Wikipedia is in 278 languages and is the single most accessed medical resource in the world (4.55 Billion page views for medical content last year, about half of which were for the English version and the other half in non English versions). People are working on spoken versions of articles so that those who cannot read can listen to the content. One can also access Wikipedia via SMS text message for those who only have a basic phone.
The content work is being done entirely by volunteers and the resulting work is available under an open license so that anyone else can build upon it. The content is not universally of high quality, not universally easy to read and not available in all languages as we need more people to join us in these efforts to achieve the goal of "health information for all in the language of your choice".
Date of HIFA message:
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
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