Health & Lifestyles with Jene Utomi on 99.1FM, the Voice of Experience, 11am every Thursday.

With Mr Smith Nwokocha, a man with too many feathers on his cap; Ambassador of Eco-network CSO, certified Health Advocate on Covid-19 from Harvard Medical School, Global Juror for United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs etc.

On Antonio Guterres, UN’s Secretary General and Melinda Gates statements on coronavirus.

As the world fights Covid-19, we are also fighting an epidemic of falsehood and lies!……Antonio Guterres

H&L: What is your take on this statement?

There’s a whole lot of information both false and real going on about Covid-19. I think it is appropriate for him to make such a statement at this point, in view of the disparity of facts existing between WHO, USCDC, NCDC etc. There should be a correlation of information from these credible organizations on coronavirus. The absence of which has culminated to the announcement of the UN’s Sec. Gen of a new Commumication Response Initiative to counter these misinformation making the rounds. There has been so much discrepancies existing already on vital information about the pandemic.

Such information should be factual and well verified before publication. People are vulnerable at this point and do not need more information that would create more panic and fear. Therefore a balanced reportage by the media and any other source of information is crucial at times like this.

Jene Utomi (On Air Personality) with Guest Smith Nwokocha at the Live Studio Broadcast of 99.1FM Radio Rivers

H&L: Why is there a proliferation of fake and false news about Covid-19 on social media?

I don’t want to use the word porous for social media but that is what it is; there’s so much liberty on social media that is responsible for the proliferation of falsehood and lies. With data, social media is available at one’s fingertips. But we need to check the excesses through training and awareness creation on the dangers of misinformation. Just as we’re doing right now on this programme. Covid-19 is a very serious issue that affects the entire world. Any information about it must be factual, credible and verifiable otherwise it shouldn’t be posted or published.

Social media users should take responsibility by publishing only the verified truth from credible sources. People should put themselves in the shoes of others by asking the salient question; “How would this information impact me if it was sent to me”?

H&L: How can we overcome this epidemic of falsehood and lies on social media?

*By verifying information before publishing.
*By resolving to post information that have positive impact rather than the negatives, bearing in mind the consequences such negative stories may have on people.
*By being intentional with our messages. Ask yourself what is the aim of this message/information I want to send? Is it just to get a million likes or to save and to give hope to weary hearted souls?

Africa will soon have dead bodies lying on the streets”… Melinda Gates

What do you make of this prophesy?

This statement was made because if the weak health system we have in Africa and in Nigeria, in particular. We are known for wanting to cut corners and finding short cuts to most issues affecting us. So for me, the statement was borne out of such knowledge. And knowing that we do not have the large capacity of testing kits to verify accurate cases of coronavirus infection in Africa. But I always believe in Africa. And in our ability to adopt to behavioural change.

Like the Ebola case, if we continue to do right by washing our hands, sneezing/coughing into our elbows, staying away from crowd etc, then we can flatten the curve. If we obey the directives from government and we all do our little bits here and there, then this prophesy will not play out. It lies on our individual and collective efforts to achieve this!

H&L: What is your final parting words on all of these?

Response: The knowledge that we can break the chain of transmission of the virus gives us power to overcome coronavirus infection. Therefore get properly informed, know the symptoms and call the NCDC toll free number or state emergency lines to get help if you suspect anything. This is not the time to play truancy by hiding. It’s time to save ourselves, our loved ones and our communities if we truly love our nation and the African continent.

Thank you Mr Smith Nwokocha for your enlightening time with us on the show today!

Health & Lifestyles wishes all of us to take responsibility of our tomorrow by being responsible today. This way we can change every negative narrative by God’s grace.

Jene Utomi (OAP) with Guest Smith Nwokocha at the Health and Lifestyle Live Studio Broadcast at 99.1FM Radio Rivers

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