Red Cross First Aid App Sees Boost From COVID-19 Content

Creating lifesaving impact is the ultimate goal of any humanitarian organization, and this is especially true for the 192 National Societies that make up the International Red Cross Red Crescent (RCRC) Movement. The Movement, with the support of the International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent (IFRC), has strategically sought to greater leverage technology to improve its lifesaving work, which continues to yield encouraging results even in the face of a global pandemic. One tech-enabled tool, the Red Cross First Aid (FA) App, appears to be creating impact in real-time, as the introduction of new disease content has resulted in greater engagement, meaning that more people are accessing critical lifesaving information each day.

The Global Disaster Preparedness Center (GDPC) in partnership with the Red Cross Red Crescent Africa, Middle East and Eastern Europe (AMEE) region and IFRC, developed, and in February 2020, released content for 25 common diseases from chikungunya and malaria to Ebola and cholera.

This content was made available to all Red Cross Red Crescent national societies (NS) and automatically included in any new (national) FA app released. On the heels of this content release, the world was confronted with the COVID-19 pandemic, which instantly raised requests from national societies for additional disease content specific to coronavirus. The GDPC immediately worked with the IFRC to develop, translate, and release COVID-19 content for the FA app.

Translated into 18 languages for national societies to adapt more quickly, the disease content has so far, gone live in thirty-nine (39) FA app bundles representing sixty-five (65) national societies. The most recent app performance report cites several thousand COVID-19 page views and reveals encouraging trends in terms of engagement.

From data collected February 24 to August 5, 2020 here is what we found:

  • The in-app COVID-19 content amassed more than 120K page views over the period.
  • France, New Zealand and Canada had the most page views with Argentina, Belgium (Flanders), Iran, Philippines, Mexico, Switzerland and Australia rounding out the top 10.
  • In the top 10 countries more than 70% of COVID-19 content is viewed in a language other than English.
  • The earliest National Societies to publish the disease content include Belgium, Philippines, Mexico, Lebanon, Iran and Ethiopia.
  • Fiji, Afghanistan, Denmark, Ireland, Kyrgyzstan, Sudan, Syria and Uganda are the most recent national societies to go live with First Aid Apps in July 2020.
COVID-19 Page Views in Red Cross First Aid App
COVID-19 Page Views in Red Cross First Aid App

In the context of the ongoing global pandemic, a few countries in our top 10 for COVID-19 page views, Iran, Argentina and France, also rank high on the global list of COVID-19 cases by country. Of the app’s total page views tracked over the period, COVID-19 content accounts for an average 1.6% of views. Iran, Argentina and France however, all exceed this average. Nine percent (9%) of the Iran’s FA app views are for COVID-19 content, 5% for Argentina and 2.43% for France. This could indicate that the high incidence of COVID-19 cases in some countries are helping to drive disease content engagement in the FA app.

Coronavirus App


While the app’s most viewed pages continue to be emergency first aid, training, and emergency preparedness content, the engagement with the COVID-19 content is encouraging. A deeper examination and analysis of the data could also provide key insights to help other National Societies effectively leverage this content to drive downloads and app enagagement  in their respective countries.

Of the 192 National Societies in the RCRC network, just over 50% have launched localized versions of the FA app with live COVID-19 content. This means there is significant room for growth especially in densely populated countries, with high smart phone penetration rates.

The GDPC continues to serve as a single point of entry for national societies to develop their own localized version of the First Aid app, supporting them through the full process of app development – including translations, video production, content editing and app store launch for both iOS and Android.

First launched in 2012 by the British Red Cross and later adapted by other National Societies, the First Aid App empowers average citizens, without formal emergency responder training, to save lives or assist persons in emergency situations. The disease module further increases accessibility to life-saving information with content specific to over 25 types of diseases.

Click to read more about the First Aid App program on PrepareCenter.Org

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