Iberoamerican Journal of Medicine
Iberoamerican Journal of Medicine

Physician Roles and Responsibilities in the Context of a Pandemic in Resource-Limited Areas: Impact of Social Media

Prévost Jantchou, Bamidele Johnson Alegbeleye, Valérie Nguyen

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Objective: This article aims to explore the role and responsibility of physicians in the era of social media; the authors take as an example of the current pandemic of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Also, we highlight how social media impact the way populations trust and follow the recommendations of the governments.
Methods: We identified relevant articles to date using a manual library search, journal publications on the subject, and critically reviewed them.
Results: We critically examined the fake news around COVID-19 disease: the disease origin, manifestations, symptoms, and treatments. The authors also explore the high expectation of people and changes in behaviors that led to risky manners, including self-medication after American President Donald Trump has claimed a major benefit of treatment with chloroquine in COVID-19. Surprisingly, the potential BCG vaccination trials in the COVID-19 pandemic were also greeted with much controversy and rejection, especially in Africa. This paper ends with some advice to various stakeholders, including leaders of global health national health organizations, and physicians on the measures to be taken in case of a similar situation in the future.
Conclusions: Social media offer significant benefits for individual and public health promotion, especially when used wisely and prudently. They equally provide opportunities for advancement and professional development. However, any careless use of such platforms poses a formidable danger to health care practitioners. Lately, there are existing guidelines issued by health care organizations and professional societies which provide sound and useful principles that health care practitioner should follow to avoid pitfalls. The authors also end by stressing the importance of culturally adapting prevention messages in the context of such a pandemic.


Coronavirus Disease; COVID-19; Health Professionals; Health Policy; Social Media; Twitter; WhatsApp; Facebook


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