Today I’m joining my health friends in attempting to shout from the rooftops: stop spreading fake news about Coronavirus!
We met with our staff the day before the Ugandan President’s first address to the nation about the virus in an attempt to educate staff accurately about symptoms, new measures we were putting in place at the centre, how staff can help to keep their family safe at home and to dispel myths floating around in social media (this was last Wednesday). I’m not a health expert, but in an attempt to bring accurate information and truth to our team I have returned to ‘research-mode’.
Facebook friends and WhatsApp contacts from three continents have been forwarding me messages about how I can protect myself against Coronavirus. Some are laced in truth, others are almost laughable! Staying away from ice cream? C’mon!
What is also shocking is fake news being spread in the ‘name of’ trusted sources, such as UNICEF and the NHS. Would the NHS really say go out and sunbathe? UNICEF Deputy Executive Director slammed the attached one as false – of course advice to stay away from ice cream and cold food is wrong!
In a country where residents have limited access to up-to-date, accurate health information, but easy access to social media, this is extremely dangerous!
Please only share what you know is accurate. And the best way to do this is to share directly from accurate sources such as the World Health Organisation.
It is also worthwhile to find out what some of these myths are. The World Health Organisation has a whole page dedicated to tackling it here, however there are many more circulating than are on this list.
Another way to prevent being misled and to participate in sharing accurate information rather than myths or fake news is to make sure you are well-informed. Please go to the World Health Organisation website, if you haven’t already, and read up on all the latest information about how to protect yourself against Coronavirus.
According to my limited knowledge, the best thing you can do to protect yourself is to regularly wash your hands. From chatting to family in Australia, I’m surprised to hear that many shops, banks, and other high-frequented places do not have any hand washing facilities for customers to use before entering. Even if hand sanitiser is sold out, there’s always soap and water!
To date, there are nine confirmed cases in Uganda. We are in partial lock-down (schools are closed, public gatherings are band including church services, large weddings and funerals), we are recommenced not to use public transport and our borders are closed.
We continue to join you in prayer against this pandemic!