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Meedan, Nigeria Health Watch partner to combat COVID-19 false news

TO reduce the spread of misinformation on COVID-19, Nigeria Health Watch and Meedan have partnered to counter the issue 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 preventions, treatments and cures can be dangerous for the public’s health, and can cause 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 individuals and public health. Nigeria Health Watch, which uses informed advocacy and communication to influence health policy and seek better health and access to healthcare in Nigeria, will leverage Meedan’s team of experts to produce multimedia messages that debunk misinformation around COVID-19. Meedan is a technology not-for-profit that builds software and designs human-powered initiatives for newsrooms, NGOs and academic institutions. 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.

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