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Unite Against Misinformation During Outbreaks, NCDC Urges Media Practitioners

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The director-general, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa.
The director-general, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa.

Amid rising outbreaks and the rampant spread of misinformation, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) has rallied media practitioners to join forces in ensuring the accurate dissemination of information and countering the proliferation of false narratives.

The director-general of NCDC, Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa issued this call on Monday during the second track of the “Social and Behaviour Change (SBC), Risk Communication Module” of the Media-EIS Fellowship Programme.

The NCDC, in collaboration with AFENET, BA-Nigeria and the Johns Hopkins Centre for Communication Programmes, has initiated the Media Fellowship on Epidemiology, Infodemiology and SBC/Risk Communication to address the capacity gap among health journalists.

Head of surveillance and epidemiology at NCDC, representing Adetifa, Dr. Oyeladun Okunromade underscored the pivotal role of media practitioners in shaping public perception and providing timely and accurate information during public health emergencies.

The fellowship, designed to enhance journalists’ knowledge and skills in public health, focuses on basic epidemiology, infodemiology and SBC/risk communication, recognising the interdependence of these program areas.

Expressing gratitude for the collaborative efforts, Adetifa highlighted the need for media and public health professionals to collaborate in reinforcing responses to public health crises, emphasising the importance of accurate public health information reaching the masses.

“The training serves as a platform for sharing experiences, networking, and fostering partnerships to combat misinformation and ensure accurate public health information reaches the masses,” he stated.

Residence advisor at AFENET, West Africa, Prof. Mohammed Balogun emphasised the significance of the media maintaining enthusiasm and dedication in participating in the fellowship programme. He expressed gratitude for the participants’ commitment, encouraging open communication and collaboration within the group.

National coordinator at Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, West Africa, Dr. Modou Njai acknowledged the crucial role of media practitioners in communicating accurate information during crises. Njai stressed the importance of building partnerships and ensuring access to reliable data to enhance the quality of information shared with the public, highlighting the significance of collective efforts in effectively communicating with the public.

In light of the increasing challenges posed by outbreaks and misinformation, the NCDC’s call serves as a crucial step towards fostering collaboration and strengthening the media’s role in providing accurate information during public health emergencies.

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