Groups partner to counter misinformation on COVID-19 in Nigeria

CONCERNED by the rapid spread of misinformation on COVID-19, Nigeria Health Watch and Meedan have partnered to counter the trend on the pandemic and other public health challenges.

The spread of misinformation during disease outbreaks is a global issue and has been identified as such by the World Health Organisation. False or misleading information around prevention, treatment and cure can be dangerous to public health, thereby causing confusion and panic. Thus, there is an urgent need for collaboration to address widespread misinformation, as governments are tackling the double epidemic of misinformation and COVID-19.

Through the partnership, information related to COVID-19 in Nigeria will be monitored to identify false claims, which can lead to significant consequences for individual and public health.

Nigeria Health Watch will leverage Meedan’s team of experts to produce multimedia messages that debunk misinformation around COVID-19. The information will be disseminated on Nigeria Health Watch’s platforms and other media outlets.

On the objective of the partnership, the Managing Director, Nigeria Health Watch, Vivianne Ihekweazu, said “misinformation poses a threat to the public response to outbreaks, eroding the public’s trust, and their willingness and ability to take preventative measures.” The project will apply insights from collated data to create evidence-based media campaigns to counter COVID-19 misinformation.

“As we’re learning each day, information and misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic are spreading in online ecosystems as rapidly as the virus itself is spreading around the world. Strained access to health experts during emergencies, such as the one we’re experiencing, can quickly lead to poor health outcomes, as low-quality information exacerbates the real-world spread of disease,” said Nat Gyenes, Meedan Digital Health Laboratory leader.

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