Six out of ten COVID-19 rumours in South Sudan are not true

17 April 2020
A poster in a shop in an IDP camp
UNICEFSouthSudan/Ryeng
A COVID-19 poster describing preventive measures is placed in one of the tea shops in PoC 1

JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN, 17 APRIL 2020 – 58 per cent of the rumours about the current Coronavirus disease circulating in South Sudan are not true, said UNICEF today. Since the UN organisation started tracking rumours together with partners, 99 rumours have been collected. Only 11 per cent of the rumours were true and 31 per cent are still being assessed.

Most of the rumors were on transmission of the virus, signs and symptoms, suggested treatments, the origin of the virus and some conspiracy theories. Most of the false information is shared through social media and word of mouth.

“We all have a role to play in ensuring misconceptions are debunked and replaced with credible information, and in this respect, the media has a special responsibility as a trusted source of information for many people,” said Mohamed Ag Ayoya, the UNICEF South Sudan representative. “When we are passing on information, we need to ask ourselves, where is this information coming from and is it verified by credible sources? If the answer to the latter question is no, one should refrain from passing it on.”

Together with the Ministry of Health (MoH), UNICEF is co-leading the risk communication efforts in South Sudan, disseminating correct information about the Coronavirus disease to people across the country. MoH and UNICEF have distributed 176,149 posters in 10 different languages and public announcements are made through 42 radio stations in the most appropriate local language in each area. Social mobilisers are using megaphones to educate people on the disease and how to stay safe, while respecting the physical distancing measure as advised by MoH and WHO.

While there is a lot of information about the Coronavirus in general, the most important thing everyone needs to know is how to stay safe and protect others. One should practice frequent handwashing with soap and water, stop shaking hands, keep distance from others, cough and sneeze in a handkerchief or in a bent elbow and stay at home when having flu-like symptoms.

“Wrong information such as rumours are creating noise, preventing the right information to reach people at risk. Worst case, rumours can take lives,” said Ayoya. “As UNICEF, we are doing what we can, together with our partners and community allies to ensure everyone has lifesaving information, but we are also counting on you to help spread the correct messages.”

Note to editors:

Correct and confirmed information is essential to educate people on the Coronavirus disease. For more information about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, please visit trusted sources of information such as WHOUNICEF and CDC. Please refrain from publishing unconfirmed information. 

Media Contacts

Yves Willemot
Chief of Communication
UNICEF South Sudan
Tel: +211 91 216 2888
Helene Sandbu Ryeng
Communications Specialist
UNICEF South Sudan
Tel: + 211 921 61 5824

About UNICEF

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

For more information about UNICEF and its work in South Sudan visit: www.unicef.org/southsudan

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