Vietnam’s anti-COVID-19 ‘weapons’: Part 2, 10 billion times reminding of COVID-19 fight

For the first time in history, phone subscribers hear the anti-COVID-19 reminders instead of the normal “beep beep” sound as they make outgoing call. With 135 million mobile phone subscribers, Vietnam has an average of over 5 billion phone calls every month. In other words, over 10 billions of reminders to coronavirus fight have been sent to people across Vietnam during the two COVID-19 peak months in the country. 
June 29, 2020 | 14:27
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Outgoing call ringtones helps to raise people's awareness and responsibility towards the covid-19 pandemic
Outgoing call ringtones helps to raise people's awareness and responsibility towards the COVID-19 pandemic (Photo: Thoi Dai)

Ideas from the Prime Minister’s speech

“Let’s create a new normal, promoting both socio-economic development and an effective anti-epidemic", Khanh Linh, 23, from Hanoi impersonated the voice in the outgoing call’s ringtone.

“I listen to this slogan every time I make a phone call. It was first somehow weird listening to the voice but later has become a habit. I develop a sense of responsibility to the community and to myself every time I hear the sentence”, Linh told Thoi Dai.

Linh is not the only one to feel this way. Most of the Vietnamese people acknowledge of their own contribution to the community in the nationwide COVID-19 fight after hearing the special phone waiting ringtone.

The “message-reminding strategy” is inspired by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s statement in one of his speeches back in time when Vietnam has just controlled the COVID-19 pandemic in community.

“Vietnam has entered a ‘new normal’, both focusing on developing the economy, and staying vigilance to effectively prevent and control the pandemic”, the Prime Minister said at the 73rd Session of the World Health Organization General Assembly.

“Prior to that, in a bid to convey the messages of the Directive No. 16 / CT-TTg, since March 30, under the direction of Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam, the Steering Committee had proposed telecommunications businesses to spread the message: ‘The Ministry of Health (MOH) calls for everyone not to leave home when it’s not absolutely necessary’ via the outgoing call ringtones”, Nguyen Dinh Anh, Director of the Department of communication and Emulation, MOH said.

The message-reminding strategy proves effective in the covid-19 fight vietnam
The message-reminding strategy proves effective in the COVID-19 fight in Vietnam (Photo: Thoi Dai)

The effect increases exponentially

Facts have proved that this novel weapon has achieved a certain communication effect.

The call waiting ringtone with the anti-COVID-19 message has been installed to a total of 135 million phone subscribers since March 30, according to the Department of Telecommunications, Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC).

Data from the representative of Vinaphone suggests that on average, there are about 1.5 billion calls a month. The MobiFone reported the same number. The Viettel network’s remarkable number of subscribers, however, accounts for more than 52 percent of the total number of subscribers across Vietnam. Based on those statistics, experts preliminary estimated that around 6 billion calls from the three largest telecommunications networks in Vietnam have been made within one month.

On top of that, a large number of messages are sent to subscribers or via Zalo, a kind of Vietnamese Messenger version. Statistics show there are 15 billion messages sent on the phone subscribers of Viettel, Vinaphone, Mobifone, VietNamMobile, etc. Zalo alone has about 5 billion messages.

Dinh Anh added that the MIC and MOH have applied all the different types of multimedia into the propaganda project, in order to attain the highest effectiveness.

In particular, the Steering Committee took full advantage of social networks such as Facebook, Lotus, Gapo, especially Tiktok – which have a relatively large number of subscribers – as part of their anti-COVID-19 strategy.

Thanks to the various forms of communication, the country was quick to detect new cases in the community, gave them timely treatment, prevented them from spreading in the community, and in the end, could control the deadly disease.

To date, it can be seen that Vietnam’s propaganda strategy via multimedia has yielded promising results, especially in raising people’s awareness of disease prevention in the community although there’s yet to be a specific review and evaluation of the effectiveness.

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