Novel coronavirus (122) Debunking fake information about COVID-19 (2) DFID gives £500,000 to address health misinformation

14 March, 2020

Dear Claire,

Thank you for the press release from UK's Department of International Development:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-aid-to-tackle-global-spread-of-cor...

For the benefit of those who many not have immediate web access, here are extracts:

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Press release: UK aid to tackle global spread of coronavirus ‘fake news’

UK aid will fund new international push to challenge dangerous fake news about coronavirus.

Published 12 March 2020...

Dangerous myths about coronavirus which are hampering the global fight against the disease will be challenged thanks to a new initiative backed by UK aid.

The support from the Department for International Development will challenge misinformation in South East Asia and Africa, which is then spreading worldwide, and direct people to the right advice to help stop the spread of the virus.

False claims and conspiracy theories have spread rapidly on social media, touting ‘cures’ like drinking bleach or rubbing mustard and garlic into your skin. These pose a serious risk to health and can speed up the spread of the virus, by stopping people taking simple practical, preventative steps like washing their hands.

DFID’s £500,000 support will go to the Humanitarian-to-Humanitarian (H2H) Network, which has extensive experience addressing the spread of misinformation during epidemics, for example following the 2015 Ebola outbreak...

International Development Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said:

Misinformation harms us all. By tackling it at source we will help stop the spread of fake news – and coronavirus – worldwide, including within the UK.

H2H will work with partners BBC Media Action and Internews to create verified information in various languages to tackle specific mistruths spreading in South East Asia and Africa. Their work will also support journalists in these regions to write more accurately about the virus using information from the World Health Organization.

Support will also go to Translators without Borders, which monitors false information in various languages and translates validated content from WHO and other health agencies, and Evidence Aid which updates a database of research on diseases each day...

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Best wishes, Neil

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

HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - www.hifa.org ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: facebook.com/HIFAdotORG neil@hifa.org