The Gauteng Department of Health has pleaded with social media users to be cautious about the type of images and videos they choose to help them trend online.
The warning comes after the department raised concerns about the circulation on social media of a year-old video that resurfaced about the poor condition in which mental health-care users at Tembisa Provincial Tertiary were kept.
According to the department, even though the video was not recent, it was posted, giving the impression that health-care patients at the facility were being mistreated recently.
However, the department said that contrary to the assertions made in the video, they had instead made significant strides in improving and bolstering service to mental health-care patients and general patients at the facility.
The department said a number of major improvements had been made at the hospital, in particular the infrastructure, as well as the addition of an alternative building technology structure.
The Thembisa provincial hospital had, according to the department, also doubled its bed capacity from 30 to 60.
“It is worrying when people re-share old videos without context and want society to believe that what is portrayed reflects the current conditions at our facilities. We must collectively combat misinformation and strive for a society that values truth, accuracy, and the well-being of all its members,” commented Health and Wellness MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko.
The Health MEC further explained that she was concerned about the misinformation and fake news, especially concerning health facilities, as this could have dire consequences and most likely erode the public’s trust and lead to unnecessary fear and panic.
“When individuals are exposed to false or misleading narratives on social media, particularly about health-related issues, they may resort to delay seeking appropriate health care, leading to poor health choices.”
“Furthermore, misinformation impede progress by distorting the reality of the improvements made in capacitating our health-care facilities to ensure the delivery of quality services to the communities across the province,” she added.