Coronavirus (960) Who to trust and how to overcome COVID-19 misinformation in Nigeria (2)

31 August, 2020

Long before COVID19 disease and the turmoil that it has created and continues to create to lives and livelihoods, and the dramatic changes that it has wrought on the established models and methods of health care delivery fueled by misinformation of a higher order, modern medicine as we know it faced these contrasting and competing interests from traditional, religious, supernatural and superstitious pretenders to health care practices and outcome.

COVID19 disease became a pandemic rapidly, knowledge about it emerged and evolved and is still evolving so rapidly that it exacerbated the dangers of misinformation and created a 'specialty' called infodemiology!!

What we tried in Nigeria to fight even the lower level misinformation and confusion emanating from traditional, religious, superstitions and super Batiobsl pretenders to health care delivery can still contribute heavily to counter COVID19 inspired infodemic: i.e education and education of all active and potential pretenders of any type especially from the community level. Bottom up rather that from the top.

The facts generated from sound, apolitical scientific research should reach every nook and cranny of countries like Nigeria, including difficult to reach areas using historically effective messaging and awareness creation methodology of the community going back many centuries before there was electronic media not to to mention the internet and social media. These included town and village criers and their Sound-horns and hongs and the sticks in the local language and by local people controlled by the local chiefs, etc. The current over-dependence of messaging for the populations in the state and district headquarters on the town located elites using modern media dependent on electricity to disseminate, and in only very few languages in countries with over 250 proudly-owned languages is a major constraint to effective trust building aspiration and control of misinformation, even after COVID19 pandemic.

'˜Back to basics' holds the key.

Joseph Ana

HIFA profile: Joseph Ana is the Lead Consultant and Trainer at the Africa Centre for Clinical Governance Research and Patient Safety in Calabar, Nigeria. In 2015 he won the NMA Award of Excellence for establishing 12-Pillar Clinical Governance, Quality and Safety initiative in Nigeria. He has been the pioneer Chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) National Committee on Clinical Governance and Research since 2012. He is also Chairman of the Quality & Performance subcommittee of the Technical Working Group for the implementation of the Nigeria Health Act. He is a pioneer Trustee-Director of the NMF (Nigerian Medical Forum) which took the BMJ to West Africa in 1995. He is particularly interested in strengthening health systems for quality and safety in LMICs. He has written Five books on the 12-Pillar Clinical Governance for LMICs, including a TOOLS for Implementation. He established the Department of Clinical Governance, Servicom & e-health in the Cross River State Ministry of Health, Nigeria in 2007. Website: Joseph is a member of the HIFA Steering Group and the HIFA working group on Community Health Workers.

Email: jneana AT