Nigeria Health Watch partners MEEDAN to counter misinformation on COVID-19

Nigeria Health Watch partners MEEDAN to counter misinformation on COVID-19

Concerned by the rapid spread of misinformation around COVID-19, Nigeria Health Watch, a leading health blog, and Meedan,  a technology that builds software and designs human-powered initiatives for newsrooms, NGOs and academic institutions,  have partnered to counter such  misinformation and other public health challenges.

A statement from the two organizations described the spread of misinformation during disease outbreaks as a global issue which has been identified as such by the World Health Organization saying  false or misleading information around prevention, treatments and cures can be dangerous for the public’s health, and can cause confusion and panic.

The statement said 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 messages will include context and background information that is key to safely communicating debunks to misinformation. The information will be disseminated on Nigeria Health Watch’s platforms and other media outlets,” the statement said.

On the objective of the partnership, Managing Director at Nigeria Health Watch, Vivianne Ihekweazu said the project would apply insights from collated data to create evidence-based media campaigns to counter COVID-19 misinformation.

“Misinformation poses a threat to the public response to outbreaks, eroding the public’s trust, and their willingness and ability to take preventative measures,” she said.

“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 Lab lead.

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