Coronavirus (247) Fake news in Nigeria

27 March, 2020

African Arguments has an interesting piece on fake news in covid-19 with a focus on NIgeria: "The other COVID-19 pandemic: Fake news" ( " False information in Nigeria is undermining medical advice, proffering fake cures, inciting panic and being used for political point-scoring." [*see note below]

Chris Zielinski

Blogs: and

Research publications:

HIFA profile: Chris Zielinski: As a Visiting Fellow in the Centre for Global Health, Chris leads the Partnerships in Health Information (Phi) programme at the University of Winchester. Formerly an NGO, Phi supports knowledge development and brokers healthcare information exchanges of all kinds. Chris has held senior positions in publishing and knowledge management with WHO in Brazzaville, Geneva, Cairo and New Delhi, with FAO in Rome, ILO in Geneva, and UNIDO in Vienna. Chris also spent three years in London as Chief Executive of the Authors Licensing and Collecting Society. He was the founder of the ExtraMED project (Third World biomedical journals on CD-ROM), and managed the Gates Foundation-supported Health Information Resource Centres project. He served on WHO’s Ethical Review Committee, and was an originator of the African Health Observatory. Chris has been a director of the World Association of Medical Editors, UK Copyright Licensing Agency, Educational Recording Agency, and International Association of Audiovisual Writers and Directors. He has served on the boards of several NGOs and ethics groupings (information and computer ethics and bioethics). UK-based, he is also building houses in Zambia. chris AT

His publications are at and and his blogs are and

[*Note from HIFA moderator (Neil PW): Thanks Chris. Foir the benefit of those who may not have immediate web access, here are a few extracts:

'Many Nigerians simply refuse to believe the disease’s existence.'...

'According to Lagos health officials, three people have been hospitalised after overdosing on chloroquine. This followed rumours, publicly endorsed by US President Donald Trump, that the drug could treat the virus.'

'Nigerians may be particularly vulnerable not because they are uniquely gullible, but because of weak communications between the government and the governed, high reverence for miracle healing and a dilapidated health care system.'...

'On 23 March, for example, an audio clip emerged on WhatsApp of an alleged World Health Organization (WHO) official predicting that at least 45 million Nigerians would die in the pandemic... Other so-called experts have proffered cures such as constant sex or sitting in the sun, or have claimed that African blood is immune to the coronavirus. None of these have any medical basis...

'WhatsApp, in particular, is a common conduit as it allows for the circulation of different types of media such as audio, video, text and links. For audio in languages like Hausa, listeners do not necessarily have to be literate to understand.']