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MiFriendly Cities’ Health Champions Help Combat Coronavirus Misinformation

When we are facing a global pandemic such as the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis, both digital and real-world ‘word-of-mouth’ can result in misinformation. Nonetheless, at such a crucial time, we must work together to highlight the truth, ensuring that everyone is sufficiently prepared and protected. Considering this, MiFriendly Cities has been looking at providing additional support to our existing activities that can help fight coronavirus directly or indirectly – like the project’s Health Champions.

Our Health Champions have been trained and accredited through the MiFriendly Cities project to engage with their local communities, representing them as they engage with health professionals. By representing their communities, they help to improve services for people across the West Midlands. MiFriendly Cities identified an opportunity here to rally Health Champions together, to ensure that the correct messages surrounding coronavirus are reaching people in the region, myths were proven wrong, and that communities had the chance bring their coronavirus-related questions  and concerns to the healthcare professionals.

On the 31st March, MiFriendly Cities partner Birmingham City Council (BCC) organised a Covid-19 briefing & key public health messages meeting with migrant communities. In the first half of the digital session Health Champions discussed their roles, communities and concerns around the coronavirus health crisis.

The second half of the meeting was a Q&A session with Justin Varney, Director of Public Health at BCC. This enabled our Health Champions to obtain direct and expert information and guidance. It was a valuable opportunity for the Health Champions to ask questions on behalf of their communities and for covid-19 myths to be dispelled.

Following the success of this event, Coventry City Council (CCC) has worked with its own Public Health department to design an online event aimed at engaging community champions to support the city’s migrant population in understanding

  • The key messages aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19 such as symptoms and how and when to socially isolate
  • How to seek health advice if a person thinks they have COVID-19
  • How to access the support available during the crisis such as food parcels (if eligible)
  • How to volunteer to support the vulnerable such as befriending via the telephone

The event will take place on the 15th April, with a 20-minute presentation by Liz Gaulton, Director of Public Health at CCC, followed by a 40-minute question and answer session.

A copy of the presentation and frequently asked questions will be available under the resources page of this website, shortly after the event.

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European Union & Urban Innovative Actions

This project is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund through the Urban Innovative Actions Initiative.