Nigeria Health Watch Partners with Meedan to counter Misinformation on COVID-19 in Nigeria

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By Joy Odor

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

According to the press release made available to reportcircle by the Communications Manager of Health Watch, Mr Atinuke Akande, spread of misinformation during disease outbreaks is a global issue and has been identified as such by the World Health Organization.

He noted that false or misleading information around preventions, treatments and cures can be dangerous for the public’s health, and can cause confusion and panic.

Mr Akande stressed that, there is an urgent need for collaboration to address widespread misinformation, as governments are tackling the double epidemic of misinformation and COVID-19.

The Communication Manager was of that opinion that 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.

“On the objective of the partnership, Managing Director at 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 Lab lead.

“Nigeria Health Watch uses informed advocacy and communication to influence health policy and seek
better health and access to healthcare in Nigeria.

“We seek to amplify some of the great work happening in the health sector, challenge the bad, and create a space for positive ideas and action.

“Through its various platforms, Nigeria Health Watch is a trusted source that provides informed
commentary and in-depth analysis of health issues in Nigeria, always in good conscience.

“Meedan is a technology not-for-profit that builds software and designs human-powered initiatives for
newsrooms, NGOs and academic institutions.

“The Digital Health Lab is our initiative that focuses on improving the quality and equity of online health information.

“We are researching, designing and testing a digital response framework for addressing health misinformation” he said.

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