In the last 18 months, the Covid-19 pandemic has spread around the world and dominated news headlines. Alongside it has grown an “infodemic”, defined by the World Health Organization as “too much information including false or misleading information in digital and physical environments during a disease outbreak”.
The impact of half-truths, hoaxes and misleading information can be deadly. It can lead to the misallocation of limited funds and poor individual health decisions.
The public and policymakers in Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa make decisions every day based on the best information available to them. But often that information is misleading or wrong.
Low levels of media literacy can make it harder for people to examine the avalanche of information that hits them, especially on social media.
To address these challenges, Africa Check has launched a media literacy campaign to empower the youth to critically engage with online information and question health claims about Covid-19 and vaccines.
The goal is to improve the quality of public debate and enable evidence-based decision-making.
Know the Facts Get the Vax
Africa Check’s Know the Facts Get the Vax series helps the public learn more about Covid-19 and how to understand and use healthcare information. It also explains the different vaccines: how they were developed and how they work.
The transnational series includes videos, podcast episodes and graphics, in English, Hausa, Kiswahili, Pidgin, Wolof and isiZulu. It covers key health issues and aims to guide decision making.
In episode 15, we explain how Covid-19 vaccines were developed so quickly and calm fears that the speedy development compromises their safety.
While you might’ve been able to stay accurately informed about the pandemic, some of your family or friends might still fall victim to misinformation. In episode 20 episode of Know the Facts Get the Vax we look at how to deal with that aunty who keeps sharing Covid-19 conspiracies on WhatsApp.
Calling out misinformation is an art – especially with friends and family. It needs to be done with compassion and patience. The goal is to help others find the facts in a way that is kind and easy to understand.
Africa Check amplifies message with partners
As part of this work, we’ve partnered with key public health, youth and education-focused organisations to increase the reach of the content. Here’s a brief description of each of our partners.
|Representing over 100 nonprofit organisations, the National Association of Social Change Entities in Education (NASCEE) works to maximise the contribution of these organisations in the education sector towards the goals in South Africa’s National Development Plan 2030. These include ensuring that all children have the benefit of high-quality education – especially with regards to languages, maths and science.|
|The Glow Movement is a nonpartisan, youth-led nonprofit organisation that works to create the necessary change and improve the lives of women and children in South Africa, to empower and enhance their self-esteem and to build assertiveness and skills to negotiate safe and responsible sexual practices. Glow was born as an initiative by a group of young people, who realise the significance of women and children groups in the development of society.|
|Speak Up Africa is focused on awareness campaigns and advocacy for public health and sanitation. From policy change to movement building and community engagement, they work to inspire action around pressing sustainable development issues. Speak Up Africa fosters national multi-sectoral involvement in public health and sanitation by creating and strengthening coalitions regrouping countries’ main constituencies including government, financial partners, implementing partners, private sector representatives and communities.|