HIFA Blog: Month in Review, June 2020 - “A matter of life and death for people unable to access essential healthcare information during the COVID-19 pandemic”

8 July, 2020

Dear HIFA Colleagues

I am delighted to share the latest instalment of the HIFA Blog:


As long-time readers of the HIFA Blog will be aware, the source of our Quote of the Month is usually a HIFA member. This time, however, we've chosen a statement by the UN Secretary-General which applies not only to the COVID-19 pandemic, but to an ongoing global crisis where lack of healthcare information contributes to tens of thousands of avoidable deaths every day 

Misinformation and fake news continued to dominate discussions on the HIFA forum during June. Among the more bizarre claims was the efficacy of alcohol as a "throat sanitiser", resulting in a bottle of cognac being included in some relief packages issued to Nairobi residents. We report on the work of a HIFA Supporting Organisation to identify gaps in information about COVID-19 at local level. Looking ahead, we highlight a paper recently published in the BMJ which reveals how COVID-19 is accelerating the threat of anti-microbial resistance.

With thanks to the following HIFA members whose contributions appear in this month’s blog: Joseph Ana, Lead Consultant and Trainer at the Africa Centre for Clinical Governance Research and Patient Safety in Calabar, Nigeria; Kenny Garmendia, medical doctor at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras; Bernard Seytre,  Consultant at BNSCommunication in France; Juliet Shenge, Clinical Virologist, Dominican University, Ibadan, Nigeria; Neil Pakenham-Walsh, HIFA coordinator.

Thanks as always to our HIFA Blog Editor, Dr Neil Pakenham-Walsh (HIFA coordinator), for his help in putting this together.

Metrics: In June 2020 HIFA (English) exchanged 172 messages from 72 contributors in 23 countries (Austria, Bangladesh, Canada, China, Colombia, Croatia, France, Germany, Guinea, Honduras, India, Jordan, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sudan, Switzerland, Tanzania, Uganda, UK, USA). Our top contributors were Joseph Ana, Nigeria (13), Julie N Reza, UK (5), and Sian Williams, UK (5). Thank you all for sharing your views and your experience.

As always, we welcome any comments or suggestions you may have about the blog. Please share them on the HIFA forum or send them to me directly: martinmichaelcarroll (at) icloud (dot) com

Keep safe and see you next month.


Martin Carroll

Independent Consultant

Healthcare Information For All


Let's build a future where people are no longer dying for lack of healthcare information - Join HIFA: http://www.hifa.org

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HIFA profile: Martin Carroll has worked on issues affecting health in LMICs for over fifteen years. Whilst at the British Medical Association, he led a major project, funded by DfID, to develop the organisation's role as a leading advocate for improving health in LMICs, which it continues to hold today. He has worked with HIFA since 2008 and is a member of the HIFA Steering Group and the following HIFA Working Groups: Fundraising, Multilingualism and Social Media. He is also the author of the monthly HIFA Blog. martinmichaelcarroll(at)iCloud(dot)com Twitter: @MMCarroll Website: martinmcarroll(dot)com