COVID-19 is a challenge to more than just medical personnel, especially to journalists who are responsible for helping keep the public accurately informed about this threat so that people can take responsible action to slow the spread of this disease. In their jobs each day, media practitioners face several obstacles in accomplishing this goal. They must sort through many sources of information, including fake news from sources that appear on the surface to be credible.
To help the media give reliable information about the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. Embassy organized a series of virtual training sessions led by an experienced American journalist, Sarah Watcher. Close to 90 journalists benefited from this effort, learning about good practices in reporting on the disease such as: how to differentiate between real and fake news, where to get reliable information on the disease, how to understand the statistics, and the risks associated with stigmatization of those affected and strategies to counter it.
We believe that journalists play a vital role in halting the spread of the disease when they provide accurate and timely information to the public. The United States has been a key health partner for Africa and for Cameroon for many years. The United States has invested more than $500 million towards public health in Cameroon. Out of more than $250 million spent worldwide by the United States to fight COVID-19 in Africa, over to $20 million is being spent in Cameroon and U.S. disease experts are working side-by-side with Cameroonian officials to support their response.