12.04.2020 Article

#DONTGOVIRAL: Mitigating The Spread Of COVID-19

By Carl Ampah
#DONTGOVIRAL: Mitigating The Spread Of COVID-19
LISTEN APR 12, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is accompanied by an Infodemic, a spread of disinformation and misinformation making it difficult for people to find accurate information. A recent survey from one African country suggested that 24% of the sample surveyed believed they were immune to COVID-19. Only 50% of the people surveyed claimed to have any information on how to protect themselves, and less than a quarter of all respondents knew that handwashing was an important preventative measure.

This survey underlines the urgent need to ensure that access to culturally relevant information is made available immediately in order to facilitate awareness-raising about how to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 both globally and across the African Continent.

Across Africa the radio, and video/music clips thanks to 3g access, remains one of the most efficient ways of ensuring information is shared in both urban and rural areas. Contemporary global and African performing artists are not only looked to for information, but also serve as continental role models for communities to emulate.

In this regard, UNESCO is proposing a collaboration with artists and influencers in order to develop a series of openly licensed PSAs, music videos, and songs as part of the Organization’s #DONTGOVIRAL campaign, to fit with ongoing communication campaigns of UNESCO to fight disinformation around COVID-19 and to provide basic information related to safety precautions to take to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 across the African continent, with global repercussions. The intent is to produce creative content that can circulate across the globe, with a focus on Africa, where populations are the most at risk given both lack of health infrastructure and lack of quality information.

More information can be found on the UNESCO webpage here.

In this regard, partnerships have been established with both African media outlets and global outlets, notably the BBC World Service, who has agreed to pass all messages produced as part of the campaign on all available platforms (TV, radio, web,etc).

The campaign consists of two parts:

  1. An open call to creatives to produce creative content to combat the spread of COVID-19;
  2. Development of content by globally renown artists to be distributed through all UN and UNESCO channels with crucial messages related to the COVID-19 epidemic at the global level.

Format of the messages:

  1. PSA (30 seconds) to encourage creatives to join the #Dontgoviral campaign and #ShareInformation;
  2. PSA (30 seconds) by artists emphasizing the main messages below;
  3. Production of content (songs or music videos) highlighting the main messages below.

Timeline: The United Nations is looking for content to be produced in the first part of April, with diffusion at the global level throughout April and May.

Main messages:
Overall main messages:

  1. Don’t Go Viral: Staying Home saves Lives. We are at war against a common enemy: the virus. To win this war, we need to stay home (in our homes).

  1. Separate and together: Physical Distancing does not mean social distancing. Now more than ever the vulnerable (elderly, sick) need our support and help. Help your communities: leave food at the door for the elderly, check in on the vulnerable. Check in on your friends (but at a distance)

  1. Medical professionals are the soldiers fighting this war: we need to help them win this war by supporting them and respecting health guidelines (below) so we can win this battle.

  1. Share Information: There is a lot of disinformation and fake news circulating. Verify your sources! Check the facts! Follow official health guidance as per the below official health guidance measures

Key UNESCO messages:

  1. Disinformation spreads: Getting reliable health information about the COVID-19 outbreak can be a life-saver. Yet disinformation and rumours can spread just as fast as the virus itself. Now that many of us are spending much more time online, let’s think critically about the information we are receiving and sharing, especially on the coronavirus.

  1. Quality journalism: Getting reliable health information about the COVID-19 outbreak can be a life-saver. Rumors and false information can help further spread the virus. To counter this epidemic, it is important to rely on information coming from professional and ethical newspapers, TV and radio channels, and news websites. Quality journalism is now more crucial than ever.

  1. Fact-checking for social media content: Getting reliable health information about the COVID-19 outbreak can be a life-saver. If you are not certain about what you see on social media about the coronavirus, do not share it or like it. Do some fact-checking by cross-checking sources or by visiting the World Health Organization’s website. If it is proven to be false, don’t hesitate to let people know by commenting and adding the source.

  1. Access to information: Getting reliable health information about the COVID-19 outbreak can be a life-saver. In a times of crisis, it is essential to guarantee freedom of expression and the right to public information, in particular to counter the spread of disinformation.

  1. Don’t discriminate, educate! Racism and discrimination are spreading alongside the new coronavirus. Remember that the virus has no ethnicity, no gender, nor social class. Let’s stand together as one community of human beings and flatten the curb of racism. Our diversity can unite us for a better, more inclusive and peaceful world.

  1. Against COVID-19, leave no one behind! During the coronavirus pandemic, leave no one behind. The most vulnerable and isolated people need our best of care and solidarity. Don’t hesitate to reach out to them. Send them messages or give them a call, to let them know they are not alone. This might be an invaluable support to them.

Health guidance measures:

  1. Wash your hands frequently: Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.

Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.

  1. Maintain physical distancing. Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

Why? When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.

  1. Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth

Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.

  1. Practice respiratory hygiene: Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.

Why? Droplets spread virus. By following good respiratory hygiene you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.

  1. If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early: Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.

Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent spread of viruses and other infections.

  1. Stay informed and follow advice given by your healthcare provider: Stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19. Follow advice given by your healthcare provider, your national and local public health authority or your employer on how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on whether COVID-19 is spreading in your area. They are best placed to advise on what people in your area should be doing to protect themselves.

More ideas:
UNESCO MIL messages:
Myth busters:

Information related to masks:

More ideas and health information:

For more information contact: Sasha Rubel ( [email protected] , +33772297896)

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