COVID-19 Misinformation and Infodemic in Rural Africa

Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2020 Dec 30;104(2):453-456. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.20-1488.


The world has witnessed rapid advancement and changes since the COVID-19 pandemic emerged in Wuhan, China. The significant changes experienced during these times remain unprecedented. The African continent has initiated significant responses to curb the spread of the pandemic. However, there is an increasing concern that rural Africa is facing serious challenges in their responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is due to the uncertainty if the populations are detached from or in synch with information on COVID-19. The findings reported here suggest that rural Africa is burdened with misinformation and infodemic regarding COVID-19 due to widespread misconceptions and anecdotal reports. It is, therefore, necessary to engage with community leaders to provide awareness campaigns in rural communities to ensure access to reliable information issued by local and international health authorities. It is pertinent to set up avenues that improve health literacy in communities in rural Africa as it is a major determinant of information assimilation.

MeSH terms

  • Africa / epidemiology
  • COVID-19 / epidemiology*
  • COVID-19 / psychology*
  • Communication*
  • Health Literacy
  • Humans
  • Infodemic*
  • Rural Population / statistics & numerical data*
  • Social Media