New Delhi: Fake health news may have a field day in India so far, thanks to uncertainty around COVID 19. But it may soon end as a campaign to call their bluff is in the offing. Health Patrol is the platform where fake health news will be ‘hanged’ regularly. Posters of the platform are eye grabbing as they show noose and RIP edict to denote death of fake health news.
The platform for busting fake health news will be led by none other than HCFI’s President Dr KK Aggarwal, the ready reckoner of credible health information in the capital. The team consists of He experienced doctors from a multitude of medical specialisations like Internal Medicine, Cardiology, Infectious Diseases, Diabetes and Endocrinology, and subject matter experts.
As the COVID-19 pandemic holds the world firmly in its grip, health as a subject has gained unprecedented attention from all quarters, so much so that it has taken over the conversation everywhere across mediums especially digital and social media platforms.
While at one end the social media has been a very potent medium for sharing and consuming important information related to health, on the other side it has also led to an explosion of fake information, wrong data and at times prescriptive solutions across platforms. With the internet penetration going up in the country and the sheer number of users using these platforms for communicating and sharing information with each other shooting through the roof, these social media platforms have turned into breeding grounds for preposterous, exaggerated and often dangerous ’fake health tips and news’.
To put an end to this menace, a platform called Health Patrol India has been launched under the guidance of renowned cardiologist and Padma Shri awardee Dr. K.K. Aggarwal who is the President of Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) and Ex-National President of Indian Medical Association. He has put together a team consisting of experienced doctors from a multitude of medical specialisations like Internal Medicine, Cardiology, Infectious Diseases, Diabetes and Endocrinology, and subject matter experts who’ll be providing the necessary knowledge and expertise required to research and investigate the authenticity of any piece of health news in circulation.
All one needs to do to check for the truthfulness of any such news is to share the URL or any attachment received with the Health Patrol helpline number +91 74280 98883 via WhatsApp or through the social media pages and website of Health Patrol. And the team would revert post validation within a few days of receiving the request. The validated information will not only be shared with the sender but posted online as well for the benefit of the people at large.
The vision is to make this platform the authority on genuine health news that people can trust and put an end to fake news. Similar to fake news, fake health information also spreads extremely quickly. Hence, there is a need to establish a single source that can empower people with the correct information which will alsobe an end to all the ill-information by Dr. Google.
On this initiative, Padma Shri Awardee Dr. K.K Aggarwal, President Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) & Confideration of Medical Associations of Asia and Oceania (CMAAO),said, “As someone who has worked extensively in the health industry, this initiative is close to my heart as it aims to empower people with the right information in order to save them from falling prey to malicious health tips and recommendations. It is a critical step in enabling a better healthcare system in the country for the future. However, for it to thrive and be successful I would urge everyone to use this platform as much as possible so that more and more fact checking of health news can happen.”
Health Patrol would be the go-to ally for people to verify a piece of news or social media forward related to health. The role of such a platform would be to bust fake health news being circulated by checking the veracity of it through research and releasing the verified news in the public domain.
This covers misinformation and hoaxes that go viral, and can often lead to unwelcome consequences. The unabashed dissemination of these materials and their sheer volume has created what can be called as an equally dangerous epidemic.
From the mildly ridiculous like garlic and vinegar, to the potentially fatal chloroform and methanol, claims of COVID cures have been circulated with enthusiasm that do more harm than good.