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Public health campaign launched to fight back COVID-19 ‘infodemic’

A new public health information campaign, launched by hygiene brand Dettol, is assessing and evaluating claims related to COVID-19 so as to correct misinformation, challenge misperceptions and debunk common myths.

The new website, www.covid-19facts.com, has been developed as an educational resource in response to the significant global media attention on the spread of COVID-19 and what the World Health Organisation (WHO) has called an ‘infodemic’. The site provides authoritative and science-based comment on topics such as the transmission of the virus, misinformation about cures, and methods to mitigate and protect.

The need to inform the public about the virus and the resulting ‘infodemic’ is clear: a poll commissioned by Dettol found that 93 percent of people are concerned about the coronavirus outbreak and 67 percent confirmed they are washing their hands more often.

As part of its commitment to scientific excellence, Reckitt Benckiser (RB), whose household brands include Dettol, Strepsils, Nurofen, Gaviscon and Durex, is using trusted expert sources from the Economist Intelligence Unit and public health experts to analyse the evidence for and against claims and, where applicable, call out unsubstantiated or incorrect information.

The launch of the website is one of a number of initiatives launched to support, educate and inform by RB, and Dettol, since the outbreak began, which include public hygiene education and donation of products to state governments in Nigeria.

“As a company that exists to protect, heal and nurture in the relentless pursuit of a cleaner, healthier world, we have a responsibility to counteract the myths and misinformation in the public domain,” Bruce Charlesworth, chief medical officer (health and hygiene), RB, said on the launch of the site.

“Our new site tackles prevalent but unsubstantiated myths and enables easy access to trusted information. Working together with public health experts, we can fight back against the ‘infodemic’,” Charlesworth said.

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