When coronavirus was declared a global pandemic, myths, rumours, and misinformation spread as fast as the disease. Uncertainty and fear led people to desperately search for information. But the internet isn’t a filtered source of expertise – you can’t believe everything you read on social media. And that’s when the church stepped in.
For many people in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), hospitals and clinics are often hard to access. And that makes it difficult to find reliable public health information, so people resort to social media and other online sources.
There has always been a link between conflicts, misinformation, and attacks towards health professionals and humanitarian workers. This can lead to more infections and stigmatisation towards victims and those responding to the outbreaks. Our staff and local partners have seen this already in their ongoing work tackling the Ebola epidemic in the country.
And the spread of ‘fake news’ is equally dangerous now that coronavirus is here.
That’s why Tearfund started a campaign using social media, text messages and radio broadcasts. It’s called Nakataa Coronavirus (which translates in English as ‘I refuse coronavirus’). The aim is to prevent the spread of the virus by sharing crucial public health information.