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Here’s How Two Students At Harvard Medical Decided To Fight Misinformation and Myths About COVID-19

Here’s How Two Students At Harvard Medical Decided To Fight Misinformation and Myths About COVID-19

Manaal Shuja
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We’re constantly being told to stay informed; it is the key to survival. But what if you have an influx of information – and no way to filter it?

To address exactly this kind of issue, a group of students and teachers at Harvard Medical School took up the noble task of information dissemination. The project was started in early March by Amina Ziad and Sara Al-Zubi. Here’s what they had to say when we reached out to them:

“As members of the Middle Eastern and North African communities, we quickly noticed how much misinformation was spreading about COVID-19. From conspiracy theories to potentially harmful recipes for cleaning products, we have seen a spectrum of myths circulating online.”

Moreover, Amina pointed out that the virus was already having a crippling effect on communities worldwide. “We did not want any health myths and conspiracies to harm them as well,” she wrote. “So far, we have translated out infographics into 20 different languages.”

Information in the Urdu language, native to people in South Asia

Amina was also happy to share that the team had been receiving plenty of positive feedback from those who were benefitting from the project:

“We believe that the infographics, because they provide clear and concise information, have been beneficial to MENA and Southeast Asian communities across the world.”

Furthermore, she described how the Harvard community as a whole is also working on numerous other relief projects: maintaining wellness, helping undocumented immigrants, and campaigning for resources for the homeless.

Amina and Sara shared how proud they are of being part of such a community:

“One of the things we love most about Harvard is how quickly our peers respond in crisis and how creative their efforts are. It is an honour to be a part of such a compassionate and responsive community.”

Pashto – spoken in parts of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran

Amina and Sara are currently, on a personal level, also continuing to work on their own medical careers. Along with that, they are working on a project geared towards empowerment of and assistance for Muslim women who wish to pursue medicine. Amina wrote:

“Too often Muslim women are discouraged from pursuing medicine, whether it be due to social stereotypes or negative personal experiences in healthcare. We hope to combat this and work to empower Muslim women.”

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