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African microsite on coronavirus aims to counter fake news and inspire hope

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As Coronavirus cases continue to grow in Africa, the Zikoko team of Big Cabal Media has partnered with X to put together a microsite — coronafacts.africa — that provides accurate information and resources for the general public to help understand and contextualise cases of Coronavirus in Africa.

The novel coronavirus, COVID-19 was first identified on the 31st of December 2019 in Wuhan, China. It has since infected over 400,000 people globally. The presence of the virus on the African continent is relatively new, only spreading to Africa on 14 February 2020.

The first confirmed case on the continent was in Egypt and the first confirmed case in sub-Saharan Africa was in Nigeria. As of the 26th of March, 2020, there are over 2455 cases of the virus in Africa.

Why is the microsite necessary?
Since the spread of the virus to the African content, there has been a lot of misinformation and inaccurate data around the virus. To prevent further spread and to reduce the panic rate, it is important that there are readily available resources and data on the virus to inform people on the stakes and how to beat it.

How will this microsite solve the problem?
Through the visually-driven microsite, Zikoko aims to accurately track and present cases in all 54 countries in Africa. This microsite will inform on the number of cases, the number of recoveries, and the number of deaths. Emphasis will be placed on recoveries because while people are panicking, we need to reinforce the idea that Coronavirus can be beaten.

The microsite will use an interactive map of Africa to present more granular data on cases across the continent, breaking down the Africa-specific tracker by country.

What is the goal?
One of the foremost goals is to help people conceptualise the numbers more effectively. This microsite will also augment the efforts of the Ministries Of Health and Control for Disease Centres in countries around Africa in educating the general public on how to stay safe through the use of a feature called the ‘Simple Guide To Coronavirus’.

The Simple Guide To Coronavirus is a concise, and data-friendly starter pack that tells people what Coronavirus is, how to prepare adequately to prevent the spread, how to recognise symptoms and what to do if someone they know has symptoms. The microsite will also facilitate awareness with the use of video explainers created in collaboration with experts and translated in as many indigenous languages as possible.

The microsite also features a self-reporting form where people can report themselves, friends or loved ones who may have the virus in order for them to get treatment. The form will collect important details such as symptoms, possible exposure to the virus, location and contact information. This information will then be confidentially passed down to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) who will then evaluate the case and contact them where necessary.

While the microsite aims to inspire action from people across Africa about the virus, it also aims to spread joy and reduce panic. Coronavirus is not a death sentence.


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