Kenya launches COVID-19 information portal to step up the fight against the pandemic

Blackboards displaying the required social distancing rules will be displayed as passengers wearing face masks canceled on the 1st during the outbreak of the COVID-19 (new coronavirus) pandemic. Simon MAINA
Boards stating the required social distancing rules will be displayed as passengers wearing face masks and queuing at the check-in desks at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Aug. 1, 2020. / Simon MAINA on CFP

The fight against COVID-19 requires effective and well-coordinated public communications to improve public response and spark collaboration, Kenya’s Health Minister said as the East African country and the world at large continue their efforts to contain the virus.

Mutahi Kagwe spoke on Monday at the launch of the Kenya Media Council’s COVID-19 information portal, which is intended to provide media professionals with a central point of contact with factual, verifiable and credible information about the pandemic in Kenya.

“The global spread of this pandemic is reflected in the spread of misinformation and conspiracy theories about its origins and the rationale for preventive measures such as vaccinations, social distancing and face masks,” Kagwe said.

“Correct and timely information must reach all parts of society regarding prevention measures and the roles and responsibilities of the various actors in containing the spread of the coronavirus.”

Misinformation about COVID-19 is a challenge in global efforts to combat the pandemic.

In April, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that nearly 6,000 people worldwide were hospitalized for misinformation about COVID-19. The health authority quoted researchers who said at the time that at least 800 people may have died as a result of misinformation related to COVID-19.

Currently, many parts of the world are battling misinformation about vaccines, some of which are blamed for vaccine skepticism.

In his address on Monday, Kagwe said the new portal will play an important role in helping the public get the right information about the virus and vaccines.

“The establishment of this information portal will greatly complement efforts to provide accurate reporting and hope for various populations,” said Kagwe.

“I urge members of the fourth estate to report objectively on the pandemic, including encouraging Kenyans to opt for the vaccine.”

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