At a time like this, people tend to be gullible and to believe whatever they are told or whatever hear. There is so much misinformation. In fact, the virus of misinformation is deadly, more deadly than the pandemic itself. That is why it is important to provide sound education and awareness programs that could enable individuals make responsible decisions, and take measures that help them remain safe, healthy and alive. The Advocacy for Alleged Witches (AFAW) understands the dangers of make-believe and superstitions. AFAW is aware of the huge human costs in situations where people make decisions based on hearsay and on claims without evidence. That is why AFAW and Humanists International are joining efforts with the UN, the various centers for disease control and health institutions across the world in tackling misinformation about COVID19. The UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres has added his voice by deploring the ‘epidemic of falsehood and lies’ that is putting the lives of many at risk.
One of the places that will be most affected is the developing world, especially the African continent where misinformation about preventable and curable diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis sometimes lead to violent exorcism, witch hunting and killing. In pursuant to its goal to end witch persecution and associated harmful superstitions, AFAW has released a poster: COVID-19 is real.
The poster has a pidgin English version, COVID-19 de Real ooo. This title is informed by the fact that many are still of the notion that the coronavirus is something that was made up. Many persons have not bought into the fact that the coronavirus is a real pandemic that could kill them.
Instead some people think that COVID-19 is part of the Chinese and western conspiracy to dominate the world. Others are of the view that they have a cure or some concoction for it or that they would not be infected because they are Africans, they live in warmer parts of the world. Some are confident that they could tackle the virus using some local concoctions. In fact, there has been so much misinformation, misleading claims and suppositions flying around
In response to the deluge of misinformation, AFAW urges people to follow the facts not the fiction, the science not the superstition regarding COVID-19. People should scrutinize and critical evaluate all COVID19 treatment claims. At a time of so much uncertainty, many people are desperate and tend to be gullible. Snake oil sellers are taking advantage of the situation. AFAW encourages people to consult medical experts not charlatans and ensure that their decisions are based on scientific evidence and sound medical advice.