Into the looking glass: A collective self-assessment of health literacy (7) Governments, misinformation and social media

12 April, 2022

I agree with Neil nd Chris that the social media giants can and should do more to promote access to accurate health information, but I also feel that Governments have not done enough to steer these giants towards doing more to-date.

I think it is a question of what priority governments place on the effect of accurate health information in achieving their declared aspiration to deliver quality health care to their populations. Sadly, health as a whole receives low prioritisation, even though every government says 'health is wealth', I liken it to the situation with banning tobacco in all its forms because of its causal link to many chronic diseases, especially cancer, but governments license Tobacco companies to produce cigarettes, collect the taxes from their profits, only to turn around and prescribe stop smoking campaigns.

As COVID-19 pandemic shows clearly, misinformation/dis information is inimical to public health campaign against pandemics, therefore governments should put appropriate pressure on social media giants to cooperate in global efforts to fight misinformation!. They should proactively champion access to accurate health information in their territories including curbing health illiteracy, promoting and educating the public on how and where to obtain accurate information.

The same Governments, against strong citizen opposition, declared lockdowns and enforced it by hurriedly passing necessary laws (and I say, rightly so), so, why can't governments compel social media giants to do more to stamp out misinformation in public health?

Joseph Ana.

Prof Joseph Ana

Lead Senior Fellow/ medical consultant.

Africa Center for Clinical Governance Research & Patient Safety (ACCGR&PS)

P: +234 (0) 8063600642


8 Amaku Street, State Housing & 20 Eta Agbor Road,

Calabar, Nigeria.

HIFA profile: Joseph Ana is the Lead Consultant and Trainer at the Africa Centre for Clinical Governance Research and Patient Safety in Calabar, Nigeria, established by HRI Global (former HRIWA). 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.

Website: Joseph is a member of the HIFA Steering Group and the HIFA working group on Community Health Workers.

Email: info AT and jneana AT