SWASTHA is a special project to promote healthcare awareness amongst local communities with the help of existing healthcare affiliates. The goal is to present health information in Wikipedia on 10 topics in 10 languages of India.
This project will use Wikipedia as a community forum and publication channel for curating and delivering health information to people in India, in languages of India, and in partnership with stakeholder communities.
The problem is a fundamental lack of health information accessible via the Internet in India’s many languages for India’s general population. People everywhere have a right to accurate information on which they can make important healthcare decisions regarding basic health, immunizations, family planning, nutrition, child and maternal health, and other areas of importance.
Many Indian citizens may have access to Internet but no immediate access to physicians and healthcare facilities—thus, access to basic health information can save lives. For example, diarrheal disease is a leading cause of death in children in India and many developing countries, where many parents incorrectly believe that withholding water is a treatment. Access to a simple Wikipedia article about diarrhea enables the teaching and dissemination of simple consumer health information—treating diarrhea with water—that can have lifesaving effects on vulnerable populations.
The population of India is 1.3 billion people, of whom 460 million are Internet users. India is the second largest online market after China and by 2021, it is predicted that it will be home to nearly 636 million internet users. This makes online access to health information critical to improving overall population health. Wikipedia has been the most consulted source of health information in the English language since 2007 and is an increasingly popular source of information in India. Because of Wikipedia's popularity and influence, development of Wikipedia's content in Indian languages is a critical strategy for meeting the medical information needs of Indian communities.
This project will apply existing Wikipedia publishing and collaboration practices to build out health information in Wikipedias for the languages. Based on the research, precedent, audience measurements, and established quality control processes for developing health information in English language, this project seeks to translate, localize, and share encyclopedic general reference information in Indian languages on drugs, medical conditions, therapies, and popular topics in health care. We will select health information topics based on the priorities of Wikipedia's own stakeholder communities, who represent medical content developers, residents of local regions of India, university collaborations, translators, and the Wikimedia editing community.
The primary objective of this project is outreach to healthcare organizations and the distribution of medical information in the languages of India to the general population (especially those without easy access to healthcare). An equally important objective is ensuring that this project shares medical information in an ethical way with the partnership and support of stakeholder communities. To promote good ethics, this project will recruit meaningful stakeholder engagement through representative institutional partnerships and public workshops, measure and report all relevant communication impact metrics, and arrange for Wikimedia's existing community forums to host, publicize, and constructively process any comments and criticism from anyone, in any language, about any aspect of this project.
Scope and approach
In order to deliver quality health content in Indian languages, we would begin by using the existing topic prioritization process established by Wiki Project Med's Translation Task Force to select the English Wikipedia medical content which we translate to languages of India. That process seeks to deliver the health information which is most relevant for audiences in India, to the most people, with the highest quality information which already has gone through Wikipedia's English language quality control process. The translation process includes staging text for stakeholder evaluation, translating it in a way that similarly invites comment, and complying with existing Wikimedia community processes for stakeholder participation. Once content is publicly available and after three months, a typical amount of time to collect Wikipedia user response, we will measure and report the quality of the content and its associated impacts using native Wikipedia measurement tools which report the Wikimedia suite of communication metrics, including pageviews, editor engagement, and any user comments.
Why we believe the approach would lead to the desired results
Making this content available would benefit a wide population of Indian users fluent in various language, who are seeking medical and health related content via one of the most popular and accessible information sources online.
These assumptions are underlying in the design of this project:
1. Wikipedia is one of the most stable and most consulted sources of health information in existence. (Heilman, 2015)
2. Posting translations to Wikidata, the Linked Open Data complement to Wikipedia, is the most efficient strategy for multilingual Wikimedia content monitoring, maintaining quality control, promoting stakeholder participation, making content accessible for current and next generation technology, and measuring program impact
3. Universities can achieve their educational mission by sharing their expertise in Wikipedia (Wiki Education Foundation report)
4. Wikipedia and Wikidata are of low quality in languages of India. We can assess and improve these with existing Wikimedia engagement processes, which relevant stakeholder organizations already have established.
5. We can measure and report the communication impact and success of our project with native metrics tools and processes in the Wikimedia platform.
Wikipedia has broad recognition as an accessible source of quality content
Wikipedia is the most popular general information source on nearly every topic, attracting 18 billion page views and 500 million unique visitors each month. Along with the general public, organizations in journalism, education, medicine, and research regularly rely on content from Wikipedia. In 2017, two of the world’s largest social media platforms, Facebook and YouTube, announced they would use Wikipedia to improve the reliability of their news content. In response, a Washington Post headline called Wikipedia the “good cop of the Internet." Wikipedia is a safe publication option for sharing quality information on any topic to the largest possible audience.
Wikipedia has been among the most consulted sources of healthcare information in the world since its foundation in 2001. Various academic publications have asserted that Wikipedia is the most popular source of medical information in English, where the competition for sharing health information is great. People in India demand access to health information and we expect that providing such information in Indian languages through Wikipedia will have comparable audience engagement to English Wikipedia, in proportion to Indian language Internet use.
Wikipedia already has proven popularity for medical topics
There are 210,000+ health articles across all languages of Wikipedia encyclopedias, which are supported by more than 2 million references and collectively receive 4.8 billion page views per year. This amount of traffic makes Wikipedia one of the most consulted health resources in the world, or perhaps the most consulted.
Health-related information in Indian language Wikipedias is of poor quality or incomplete, and yet, readership remains high. According to a recent Google-KPMG report, by 2021, Hindi users are estimated to reach 201 million (20.1 crore) across the Web, as compared to the English user base of 199 million (19.9 crore) in 2021. An estimated 536 million Indians are expected to use regional languages by 2021. Beyond Hindi, many Indian language users are coming online and seeking basic health information.
This staggering increase of online users and Wikipedia's already established popularity presents an opportunity for this project to engage community stakeholders in improving the quality and scope of Wikipedia's medical content.
The Wikimedia platform has a community of practice which promotes a culture of ethical engagement
It is not possible for any organization to publish to Wikipedia without community engagement. There is no central leader or board controlling Wikipedia's editorial process, nor can any individual or institution grant overriding permission to publish content. Instead, the Wikipedia community, which includes anyone who can post comments via the Internet, acts as the arbitrator of all decisions.
This project will publish health information to Wikipedia in partnership with relevant existing community organizations which already have established processes for translating content from English into the languages of India. This consultation through various specialized Wikimedia community organizations will ensure that throughout the process the activities of this project elevate the participation of stakeholder communities to accomplish the goal of sharing health information in Wikipedia.
The sustainability of this project is tied to the sustainability of Wikipedia, which is all but guaranteed. Wikipedia has been a top-10 website globally since 2007, according to Amazon Alexa's popularity rankings. Since 2007 there are about 25 nonprofit websites among Alexa's top 500 websites by popularity, and among all those, Wikipedia has had the most consistent popularity in addition to being popular on the scale of Google, Facebook, etc. The Wikimedia Foundation publishes its own financial report and in 2018 they took in US$115 million. That amount has grown every year of the organization's history.
The project is also sustainable as Internet access in India grows. The rate of Internet growth there is tied to the increased availability (price drops, new connectivity, faster data transfer). As Internet has become increasingly popular in India, so has Wikipedia; thus, this project assumes that the Internet will become more popular in India and that historical trends will continue.
Regarding content, many existing health articles that will be enhanced through this project have already been in existence, some since 2007—that means their URLs are stable and will continue to be. Those that are created will exist in perpetuity. As with any Wikimedia publishing, anyone can edit or remix the content that this project posts in the Wikimedia platform or export it for use elsewhere, ensuring that knowledge is widely disseminated.