As part of the efforts to build the infodemic management capabilities for the future, WHO initiated a technical consultation on Building a Global University Curriculum for Infodemic Management on 21-23 March in Belgrade, Serbia. Hosted by the Faculty of Medicine, University of Belgrade, the consultation brought together 47 representatives of academia, public health and professional associations, and health authorities from across six WHO regions.
Caption: Participants of the WHO Technical Consultation in front of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Belgrade, March 21, 2023
Credit: WHO/Damir Begovic
Speaking about the importance of momentum, Stefan Mandić-Rajčević, Coordinator of the Laboratory for infodemiology and infodemic management at the University of Belgrade, noted: “The Faculty of Medicine recognized the importance of infodemic management early on during the pandemic, and we have grown a network which allowed us to improve our response and reduce the consequences of the infodemic.” Rafaela Rosário from University of Minho in Portugal echoed the significance of integrating infodemic management in teaching and training: “We have several doubts about the future; however, we are aware that infodemiology and Infodemic management are unavoidable paths.”
Caption: Lazar Davidović, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Belgrade, Serbia
Credit: WHO/Damir Begovic
With the aim of (i) defining the capabilities and capacities needed for mainstreaming infodemic management in learning and training programmes, and (ii) mapping integration approaches in existing university teaching programmes, the consultation offered a platform for a productive initial discussion. Tim Nguyen, WHO Unit Head for High Impact Events Preparedness highlighted the available tools that can guide the definition of competencies for infodemic management: “The competency framework defines the key functions of an Infodemic manager throughout the epidemic response cycle and how adaptive they become as the epidemic evolves.” Discussing the integration approaches of infodemic management into training programmes, Elil Renganathan from Sunway University, Malaysia, noted: “This is an evolution and not a revolution, it is more a marathon than a 100m sprint.”
Having representatives of both academia and practice in the audience allowed to consider various aspects of the infodemic management. “Infodemic has brought us to the new battlefield against misinformation. However, the evidence-based and data-driven decisions as an important part of infodemic management will weaponize our community engagement at a new level,” shared Santi Indra Astuti from Islamic University of Bandung in Indonesia who also represents an anti-hoax civil society organization MAFINDO.