‘Beware of raw health data on social media’

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HEALTH minister David Parirenyatwa has said the current era of rapid information sharing through social media has exposed members of the public to “raw data” and “unsubstantiated claims” which pose a major challenge to the public health system.

By Phyllis Mbanje

Speaking at the launch of the Zimbabwe Public Health Association in Harare last Friday, Parirenyatwa said there was urgent need for public health specialists to be always at hand to counter such misinformation.

“The public is dished with raw data and what it requires now is for the health specialists to come up quickly and rubbish or authenticate certain information before it poisons our people’s minds,” Parirenyatwa said.

david parirenyatwa

“We hope you can update your site and provide the public with a trusted source of information that they can count on,” he said.
Parirenyatwa said most people did not trust information posted on government websites.

“We provide information on the ministry website, but they will want a different source,” he said.

Parirenyatwa also challenged the public health experts to dissect and authenticate claims that there was an Ebola vaccine.
“Now we are talking of a vaccine with so far 100% efficacy . . . Or is it?” he queried.

Parirenyatwa’s remarks come in the wake of claims by Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede that some modern family planning methods had serious health effects on women.

Mudede’s partner Richards Hondo, who is a physio neurologist, claimed that some of the effects included cancer, back pain and low libido.

However, the Ministry of Health and the Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council have dismissed the claims as misleading and alarmist.-NewsDay