Local NGO Launches COVID-19 Misinformation Campaign In Yei

"...we have been doing survey on this matter and in our findings we have discovered that many people still in the area believes COVID-19 is not for South Sudanese."

By Daniel Friday Martin

YEI (05th. MAY.2020) GURTONG -A local national none governmental organization, Research and Development Organization (RADO) South Sudan, has launched a COVID-19 “Misinformation Campaign”, aimed at countering fake news, rumour tracking, misinformation and hate speeches circulating both online and offline social media platforms in Yei River County of Central Equatoria state.

RADO’s communications and advocacy officer, Emmanuel Lemi, told Gurtong on Tuesday that misinformation and rumours as well as hate speeches on prevention of COVID-19 has become a major concern affecting local communities in the area.

“As RADO, we have been doing survey on this matter and in our findings we have discovered that many people still in the area believes COVID-19 is not for South Sudanese. We have also discovered that some people in the communities have been misinformed on the prevention of COVID-19, hate speeches and rumour are circulating every day, causing confusion on the prevention of the deadly virus within local communities”, he added.

Emmanuel said Research and Development Organization (RADO) will take a lead in ensuring that fake information and rumour circulation is countered by relevant authorities and stakeholders working in the area of COVID-19 prevention.

“We have developed a tool for verifying rumours, fake news and countering misinformation. We are using a community led feedback approach tracking, verifying correct information with local county health authorities, state ministry of health and other partners dealing on COVID-19 prevention and we use the health ministry’s accurate verified responses to pass correct information feedback to the local communities using the available local FM radio stations to counter misinformation and hate speeches on COVID-19 prevention”, stressed Mr Lemi.

Mr Lemi said fighting the pandemic diseases calls for a collective responsibility of all stakeholders through access to information-health rights civic education.

For his part, Doctor James Wani, Director General for the defunct health ministry in Yei River State, commended responses by partners in helping communities with right of access to information on the prevention of COVID-19.

James said Rumours and misinformation still remain a challenged in the fight against COVID-19. He said although Yei still remains COVID-19 free, the local communities need constant and continuous awareness on the prevention of the disease.

“Yesterday, we received rumours circulating that there were two men tested positive with COVID-19 in Juba and they escaped to Yei and with help from the social mobilizers, it was discovered that the two men were negative and they don’t have COVID-19 but that it was only rumour and fear that caused the public panic.

 However, there is more work needed to counter misinformation, rumours and fake news circulating on both online on offline social media sources of information”

Yei River County is located 100 miles Southwest of the national capital Juba and the area has about fifteen different porous entry points into Yei-South Sudan from DR Congo and Uganda.

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