Developing an information sharing framework for public awareness and advocacy for coronavirus prevention in South Asia
Developing countries are expected to be disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 health crisis because these societies may be more vulnerable to higher infection rates and greater death rates due to weaker health systems. Many countries have less fiscal capacity to invest in interventions to flatten the curve and keep daily cases at a manageable level for their healthcare systems.
Misinformation and disinformation have become a major issue during the COVID-19 pandemic. The United Nations system and the World Health Organization have labelled current trends in misinformation and cybercrime as an “infodemic” parallel to the COVID-19 pandemic. Misinformation is a significant problem for vulnerable populations in the contexts of weak public health systems and insufficient healthcare facilities. It not only hinders effective responses to the pandemic, in several countries it is leading to instability and violence against ethnic groups accused of transmitting the virus, and against healthcare facilities and professionals targeted by conspiracy theories.
Despite having high GDP growth rates, South Asia lags with respect to systems, infrastructure, and spending on public healthcare. Population density in South Asia is very high, making managing and containing outbreaks, especially in dense slums, very difficult. This project aims to counter misinformation about COVID-19 in the region by developing factual content for new media. It will study how misinformation relating to COVID-19 circulates and create content customized for context, culture, and language across communities in South Asia.
Developing an information sharing framework for public awareness and advocacy for Coronavirus prevention in South Asia
The project analyzed COVID-19 related information in key areas affecting the region and then disseminated information to raise awareness among the 1.8 billion people residing in this region. The goal was to provide information for prepared response to the pandemic. Under the framework, 10 important topics were identified by a team of experts, and audio visuals were created. Content was customized relevant to the South Asian context and then shared and promoted through Facebook. The COVID-19 pandemic has unraveled the toxic wave of populism that has swept across top global economies and shown that to safeguard themselves, countries need to pay attention to the well-being of their neighbors.
Author(s): Ar Rafee, Abdullah, Srivastavaa, Abhishek