Mobile Apps & Resources: WHO Academy


To keep you updated on the go, our ‘app of the month’ highlights one free informational app every month!

Librarian reviewers consider the audience and purpose of the apps, as well as highlighting additional features:
  • In the ‘Evidence’ section, we assess how easily an app user can identify the app’s currency and support from the evidence
  • In the ‘Usability’ section, we assess the organization of information and other usability factors that may contribute to user experience

Our complete grading criteria for evidence and usability are embedded in the review.

Please note that the reviewers are not healthcare professionals, and so cannot appraise the quality of any recommendations within the app. The reviews are not endorsements.

View the AHS policy on Mobile Wireless Devices and Services.


WHO Academy

WHO Academy 

Versions reviewed

 iOS: 5.1.2; iOS: 5.1

Device & OS used

iOS 5.1.2 (iPhoneS 14.2); iOS 5.1 (iPad 13.5.1)

Date of review

November 10 &16, 2020

Reviewers Vanja Stojanovic (SHA), Marcus Vaska (AHS)
Technician Support  Melanie Belliveau

Image Source: WHO Academy, Google Play. Retrieved on December 7, 2020 from:


Stated Purpose  

WHO Academy “delivers mobile access to a wealth of COVID-19 knowledge resources developed by WHO, including up-to-the-minute guidance, tools, training, and virtual workshops to support health workers in caring for patients infected by COVID-19 and in protecting themselves as they do their critical work. The app is built around the needs expressed by 22,000 global health workers in a WHO Academy global survey conducted in March/April of 2020. The survey found that two-thirds of respondents feel they need to be more prepared for COVID-19 particularly in infection prevention and control, case management, use of personal protective equipment and occupational safety, and risk communication and community engagement.  An Overwhelming majority of respondents said virtual learning on demand would be helpful in preparing for COVID-19 challenges, and that they access information on the internet via their mobile phones and tablets.” (WHO Academy Mobile Learning App, 2020)

“This app provides health workers everywhere with an efficient way to access the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 knowledge resources all in one place, including up-to-the-minute guidance, tools, training, self-paced learning, and virtual workshops to support health workers in caring for patients infected by COVID-19 – as well on how they can protect themselves as they do their critical work. With content in six languages – Arabic Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish – the app is a convenient tool for accessing WHO’s rapidly expanding and evolving training materials and guidance, along with opportunities to participate in virtual skills workshops and other live training.” (WHO Academy, App Store, 2020)



  • Users can specify preferred language (from a choice of 7), as well as allow the app to automatically detect location (this is required in order to produce the customized COVID-19 case numbers and deaths)
  • Entries can be bookmarked or shared with others
  • Users can register for free webinars (delivered via Zoom) as well as set reminders (bell icon) in one’s calendar
  • All entries within the WHO COVID-19 global literature database contain full citation information, abstracts, and links to full-text where available (open-source articles)
  • Ability to rate the app, provide feedback, and share with colleagues (via e-mail or Twitter)
  • Users may set their preferred location (i.e. country) in the settings tab.





All health workers.



This app is largely targeted to all front-line healthcare practitioners seeking information, guidance, and training for working with patients infected with COVID-19 and/or working in high-risk clinical environments.

Part 1: Editorial committee, content updates, and evidence grading

WHO Academy was launched in May 2020, approximately 2 months after the WHO declared COVID-19 a global pandemic.  The app’s key features, namely learning guidance, learning materials, are a direct result of a survey conducted in March and April 2020 with 22,000 health workers from 178 countries, and focus on all aspects of COVID-19 case management, infection prevention control, epidemiology, and regional information from a WHO member country. In addition, the WHO Academy is scheduled to open in May 2021 as a “state-of-the art learning center, applying the latest technologies and adult learning science to meet the learning needs of millions of health workers, policymakers, and WHO staff around the world.”   (WHO Academy, Google Play, 2020)


Part 2: Source and authorship information for 3 entries

This app is well organized, and the extensive planning that went into its creation is evident.  From providing the latest COVID-19 cases and deaths customized to the user’s country, learning about COVID-19 webinars, and keeping abreast of published articles around the world (thematically organized as either therapy, prognosis, prediction, diagnosis, or etiology), WHO Academy functions, in many ways, like a point of care resource, providing content created by a reputable source in a few seconds, ideal for the busy clinician accessing this app.  

Organization of information

App is well-organized, intuitive and easy to navigate; The menu-driven options allows the user to quickly locate desired information.  Content is presented in various formats (article, poster, video, etc.), and the inclusion of cartoon videos of Mr. Bean are certainly memorable.

There is 1 homepage, 4 tabs that contain content, and a Settings tab:

The Homepage has quick links to learning content for the following topics:

  • Case Management
  • IPC & Occupational Health
  • Epidemiology
  • Laboratory
  • Maintaining Essential Health Services & Systems
  • International Health Regulations
  • Risk Communication and Community Engagement
  • Research & Development
  • Operational Support and Logistics
  • Global Networks

The homepage also provides a search bar which searches resources, events, new, and a FAQ section. The FAQ section is browsable and is organized by the following topics:

  • Administrative Controls
  • Caring for patients – COVID-19
  • Environmental/ Engineering Controls
  • Home and Community Care

The homepage also offers a link to a bookmarks collection and access to Augmented Reality courses (the current offering is entitled: “How to put on and remove personal protective equipment (PPE)”).


There are 4 tabs that contain content:

Latest News: provides up-to-date figures of COVID-19 cases and deaths from the user’s home country, as well as alerts on last global news events regarding the pandemic

Learning Events: notifies the user of upcoming free webinars (registration required) on all aspects of COVID-19

The Global Literature tab provides record information and links to full-text of published literature organized by the following topics:

  • Therapy
  • Prognosis
  • Prediction
  • Diagnosis
  • Etiology

The General Information tab offers information on topics relating to COVID-19 and includes guidelines, infographics, and videos organized by the following topics:

  • Regional Links (resources from WHO offices and UN)
  • Stop the Spread (find out about precautions and healthcare advice)
  • Protect Yourself (checking on your health)
  • Myth Busters (Let’s talk facts!)
  • Coping with Stress (mental health and COVID-19)
  • Travel Advice


The Settings tab allows users to set their location preferences manually or automatically for the app, as well as access the following features and information:

  • Rate us
  • Feedback
  • Share App
  • Privacy Policy
  • App version number



Despite not offering a search function (the app is entirely browsable), it is nonetheless very easy to navigate. Each of the 4 menu tabs enables easy back-and-forth toggling,  enabling easy of navigation to guide the user directly to the information he/she wishes to peruse.  Within a matter of minutes, the user can know how to use the entire app.



User Account require: No, However, users are encouraged to specify their location preference to enable customized content (particularly with regards to latest statistics and links to regional information) specific to their home country.

Internet connection required for use: Yes, While new versions of the app appearing regularly, content within the app is updated daily, thus reliable, continuous Internet access is required  

Text search field: No, The search function only searches the title of entries.

Browsable content: Yes, Entire app is browsable and well organized by navigation tabs, subsections, and categories within each tab.

Advertisements: No

Pop-up advertisements: No

In-app purchases: No 



Compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Requires iOS 12.0 or later. 
Last updated (as per App store listing): November 16, 2020 (version 5.1.2)

Compatible with Android smartphones and tablets. Requires Android OS 5.2 and up.
Last updated (as per Google Play listing): November 16, 2020 (version 2.4.2)

App Store listing: 408.7 MB (iOS)
Google Play listing: 158 MB (Android)


App Developer

World Health Organization (WHO)


Country of Origin