Multilingual Approach to COVID-19 Online Learning Response on

Heini Utunen, Ngouille Ndiaye, Melissa Attias, Lama Mattar, Anna Tokar, Gaya Gamhewage

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review

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In pursuit of equitable access to emergency-related knowledge, the World Health Organization (WHO) translates COVID-19 and other infectious disease courses into multiple languages on its open-access online learning platform Languages spoken by vulnerable or underserved populations in low- and middle-income countries and in outbreak-prone and affected areas are prioritized. Accessing learning in preferred languages enhances uptake and comprehension. In this study, we assess and compare the initial enrollment levels and global reach of these multilingual courses. On average, OpenWHO's 38 COVID-19 courses have each been translated into 4.8 languages. The platform hosts courses in 55 different languages with 10.4 million words translated. The findings identify which available languages were most utilized for COVID-19 learning to inform course production and outreach strategies. Languages were used differently across geographic regions, calling for localized learning offerings. A streamlined multilingual publishing scheme, ensuring quick and effective delivery of diverse languages, is critical to achieving greater equity of access to knowledge.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInformatics and Technology in Clinical Care and Public Health
EditorsJohn Mantas, Arie Hasman, Mowafa S. Househ, Parisis Gallos, Emmanouil Zoulias, Joseph Liaskos
PublisherIOS Press
Number of pages4
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-64368-251-8
ISBN (Print)978-1-64368-250-1
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Publication typeA4 Article in conference proceedings
EventInternational Conference on Informatics, Management, and Technology in Healthcare - Online, Athens, Greece
Duration: 16 Oct 202117 Oct 2021
Conference number: 19

Publication series

NameStudies in Health Technology and Informatics
ISSN (Print)0926-9630
ISSN (Electronic)1879-8365


ConferenceInternational Conference on Informatics, Management, and Technology in Healthcare
Abbreviated titleICIMTH 2021


  • COVID-19
  • Education, Distance
  • Humans
  • Multilingualism
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • World Health Organization

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1


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