Certain campaigns spreading fake news on public health issues, including the anti-vaccine propaganda, are a threat to global efforts for eliminating and eradicating infectious diseases, according to Helen Clark, Former Prime Minister of New Zealand and Former Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP.
“The internet and social media platforms can be powerful tools for good, helping to connect and educate communities”, she said in an interview with the Emirates News Agency, WAM.
“However, there is a downside to social media; for example, those campaigns spreading fake news detrimental public health, such as the anti-vaccine propaganda in countries rich and poor”, she added in the interview ahead of her participation in the Reaching the Last Mile, RLM, Forum, which will take place on Tuesday at the Louvre Abu Dhabi.
“Technology, however, also provides new opportunities – foe example, through artificial intelligence and remote diagnosis, and we should continue to embrace innovative means of improving public health”, she stressed.
“The last mile is always the hardest, and that is why is so important”, Clark said about the RLM Forum.
The biennial invitation-only Forum convenes global health leaders to share insights and best practices on how to map out, eliminate and eradicate infectious disease.
The events is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and in partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The Forum is inspired by the conviction of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed that no person should needlessly suffer or die from a preventable disease and that investment in health is crucial to global development.
“I want to pay tribute to His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed for conceptualizing and hosting this important event, and for shining a spotlight on the world’s neglected diseases. His commitment in this way to the world’s neglected. His commitment in this way to the world’s poorest and most vulnerable communities is inspiring”, Clark explained.
Expressing her optimism about such efforts, Clark said, “Investment in health is crucial to global development, and it is hoped to secure funding, share knowledge widely, forge new relationship in the global health community and ultimately accelerate the pace towards preventable disease elimination”.