On February 10, 2023, FATABYYANO hosted a health course entitled “From Theory to Practice!” with the support of the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) at Poynter. The course, presented by Dr. Moath Al-Thaher, aimed to address the growing concern of health misinformation in the world today. Eleven participants from around the globe attended the course, representing India, Spain, Nigeria, Slovakia, Chile, Mexico, Hong Kong, Portugal, Burundi, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom. The participants were equipped with the necessary knowledge and tools to help combat misinformation in their respective countries.

The short-term course covered a wide range of topics related to health misinformation, including how to identify fake health tweets, archiving tools and private tricks, advanced deep search tools for fact-checkers to use the search engine more effectively, how to find and evaluate sources for health information, and graph manipulation in health forms. Over the two-week course, participants learned about health misinformation, strategies for fact-checking, and best practices for combating misinformation. The course also provided practical training on how to spot and debunk misinformation.

The rise of misinformation and disinformation in the health sector is a growing concern in 2023. The course was particularly important in addressing this issue and provided an opportunity for participants to learn about the latest tools and strategies for combating misinformation.

The participants in the “From Theory to Practice!” course were a remarkable group of professionals, all dedicated to promoting accurate health information. Among them were Aina Crosas, a fact-checker at Verificat in Spain; Veronika Frankovská, a project manager at Demagog in Slovakia; Coreena Suares, an editor at NewsMeter in India; Lois Ugbede, a fact-checker at Dubawa in Nigeria; Isidora Osorio, a subeditor at FastCheckCL in Chile; Samedi Aguirre, an editor at Animal Político in Mexico; Stephanie Tsang, an assistant professor at Hong Kong Baptist University in Hong Kong; Sara Monteiro, director and editor at Viral Check in Portugal; Cédrick Irakoze, a senior editor at PesaCheck in Burundi; Hui-An Ho, head of international projects at Taiwan FactCheck in Taiwan; and Ankita Kulkarni, a fact-checker at Logically in the United kingdom.

In addition to the short-term training program, Fatabyyano also also provided a long-term training program. This series of educational sessions on fact-checking tools and skills was designed to provide participants with a comprehensive understanding of various aspects of fact-checking, including effective reading of scientific articles, identifying credible scientific websites, and distinguishing opinion from facts. Participants were also introduced to data analysis in public health, including how to fact-check manipulation in health charts and statistics.

The training further covered why people hold misinformed beliefs, and how to work with their underlying motivations to correct misinformation using the jiu-jitsu approach and practicing “empathetic refutation.” Participants learned how to infuse media literacy into fact-checks, reach a wider audience with truth, and build trust and confidence through their work.

The training also provided practical tips and techniques to write health fact-check articles like a pro, spot suspicious herbs and supplements claims, gain public trust as a fact-checking organization, and deal with misinformation during big events such as pandemics.

In the long-term, this training on health fact-checking will help participants develop the skills necessary to conduct thorough fact-checking and provide accurate information to the public. With these skills, participants can help combat misinformation and ensure that people have access to reliable health information.

Veronika Frankovská, Project Manager at Demagog in Slovakia, Coreena Suares, Editor at NewsMeter in India, and Sara Monteiro, Director & Editor at Viral Check in Portugal, were among the participants who attended this fact-checking training series.

FATABYYANO’s health course was a resounding success, providing participants with the knowledge and skills necessary to combat health misinformation in their respective countries. The dedication and passion of the participants were truly inspiring, and the impact they will have in the fight against misinformation is eagerly anticipated.