Based in Johannesburg, South Africa, Africa Check works in three of sub-Saharan Africa’s most populous countries (Senegal, South Africa, and Kenya) to combat misinformation by fact-checking the media, politicians, curricula and other prominent sources of mis- and disinformation. In particular, they have actively combatted the vast amounts of health misinformation that have spread throughout the COVID-19 pandemic–the latest, they note, in a long line of health “misinfodemics” that they have fought to correct.
They follow what they describe as a “360-degree” approach to deal with misinformation:
“1. Health-related fact-checking to reduce the circulation of false and misleading claims on key health topics
2. Making accurate health data easily available through our Info Finder tool
3. Strengthening media partnerships to ensure accurate health information is made more widely available
4. Media literacy initiatives, particularly aimed at the youth, so that they can evaluate health messages appropriately
5. Training and supporting a community of nonpartisan fact-checkers across the continent, to deepen their health fact-checking.
6. Producing a case study to highlight insights from fighting health misinformation. We will distribute the case study widely to encourage knowledge sharing.”
They note that the impact of misleading health information can be life-threatening, “ranging from funding misapplication to misdiagnosis and death.” Now more than ever, in Africa and globally, combatting health misinformation is essential to advancing health equity.