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Dissertation presented to the Presidency of the Republic contributes to strategy against fake news

06.06.2024

How do disinformation and fake news affect public policy? Motivated by this provocation, Ergon Cugler de Moraes Silva, a graduate of the São Paulo School of Business Administration (EAESP), dedicated his Academic Master's Degree in Public Administration and Government to investigate the role of community health agents (CHA) in the implementation of the Unified Health System (SUS), in a scenario in which vaccine hesitancy has returned to the center of the Ministry of Health's concerns.

Supervised by Professor Gabriela Spanghero Lotta, the dissertation "Disinformation at the street level: how Community Health Agents deal with vaccine hesitancy of citizens", defended in February 2024, showed that CHWs use not only logical and rational knowledge and arguments, but also their territorial insertion and bond with citizens to face vaccine hesitancy. In addition, CHWs create support networks among colleagues and seek support to deal with uncertainties. The dissertation also proposed several suggestions for public policies, aiming to improve the fight against misinformation and vaccine hesitancy.

Based on the suggestions elaborated, Ergon was invited by the Secretariat of Social Communication of the Presidency of the Republic (SECOM) to participate in the Seminar "Interinstitutional Dialogue to Confront Disinformation in the Health Area" held in Brasília (DF) on May 21, 2024, where he was able to present the findings of his dissertation to the authorities present.

The Seminar was attended by Prosecutors and Prosecutors from almost all the Federative Units of the country, as well as representatives of the National Council of the Public Prosecutor's Office (CNMP), the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Justice and Public Security (MJSP), the Secretariat of Institutional Relations (SRI), the Brazilian Institute of Information in Science and Technology (IBICT), among others.

At the end of his presentation, the graduate had the opportunity to answer questions from the authorities, directing notes to the "Committee to Combat Misinformation about the National Immunization Program and Public Health Policies" and to the "Health with Science" initiative, an effort coordinated by the Ministry of Health and SECOM, which has the support of the MJSP, the Office of the Attorney General of the Union (AGU), the Office of the Comptroller General of the Union (CGU) and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MCTI).

Based on the notes of the dissertation and the presentation, Ergon should contribute to the elaboration of the structure of a course to train 400 thousand SUS workers throughout Brazil to confront misinformation and vaccine hesitancy, a goal that was already provided for in indicator 10595, of specific objective 0451, of the Multiannual Plan (PPA) 2024-2027.

To read the full dissertation, visit the website.

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