NCDC says Nigeria’s infodemic management system effective
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), in collaboration with Breakthrough ACTION-Nigeria and African Field Epidemiology Network (AFENET), said its robust and strategic rumour management system has been effective in managing infodemics.
Dr Chinwe Ochu, Director, Prevention Programmes and Knowledge Management, Head of Research, NCDC, made this known on the sideline of the Media Preparedness against Future and Current Outbreak Response Programme Brainstorming session on Wednesday in Lagos.
Ochu explained that NCDC had a robust rumour management system that utilised a software to scan the social media and Internet for trending news.
“We usually classify this news as valid, misinformation or disinformation. When rumours contain information that can constitute a public health threat, we usually counter such rumours with scientific evidence and facts.
“Our infodemic management system counters rumours with evidence, making sure credible information is made available and accessible to the public.
“So, it is a very robust system that was developed with a lot of our communication partners.
“We are always working with the media and making sure we provide necessary information for the public through the media,” she said.
Also, Dr Yahya Disu, Head, Communications, NCDC, said Nigeria had been playing a leading role in the infodemic management road map for the country.
According to him, it is more like the coordinating agency for the infodemic management team for the country.
“We have Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as well as partners who are work8ng with us.
“We have been able to develop a framework strategy and action plan for infodemic management.
“We have also started developing tools for infodemics management, we have some before as we are upgrading those tools to be able to reflect the contemporary needs,” Disu said.
Disu, who stressed on the challenges at the sub-national level, said they would build their capacity and integrate them into the national infodemics management system.
“This is because there have been a lot of misinformation on epidemic issues at the sub-national, grassroots level and even offline.
“We also have existing structures in the communities for disseminating information, like the Community Based Organisations, Civil Society Organisations, Non-governmental Organisations, Religious Organisations, Faith-Based Organisations, among others.
“We want to build their capacity to understand what misinformation is and how to use that structure to debunk rumours,” he said.