COVID-19 - PAHO/WHO Response, Report 64 (19 November 2021)
PAHO launched Pahola, its first digital health specialist on alcohol use, who amongst other things, can help individuals decrease their alcohol consumption. During the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a widespread dissemination of misinformation related to alcohol use, combined with an exponential increase in alcohol sales online coupled with home deliveries. In contrast, alcohol treatment services were disrupted or completely stopped. Designed to be empathetic and free of judgement, Pahola can provide the user with general information about the risks of drinking, help assess users’ alcohol-related risks using a series of interactive questions and help them to create a plan that includes identifying triggers and figuring out ways to cope with them, and also refer people to alcohol treatment services. Pahola is available in, English, Spanish and Portuguese. Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), sent a video message to the webinar launch of Pahola. “New technologies, including artificial intelligence, are powerful tools for expanding access to information and care, and we hope Pahola will be very successful in the Americas and around the world”, he said.