Inequity Driven Mistrust: Its Impacts to Infodemic Management and Health Response and what to do about it

This study addresses a critical literature gap by deepening our understanding of a significant yet often overlooked driver of mistrust and misinformation: inequity-driven mistrust.

While previous studies have delved into how structural racism and discrimination affect trust in health information, these investigations have predominantly centered on high-income settings. Our research takes a unique perspective, conducted in diverse settings – northern Iraq and the southern Colombian Amazon – and explores the multifaceted nature of inequity-driven mistrust.

In our study, we examine three key dimensions:

  1. Inequity’s Role in Mistrust: Our research delves into how historical and ongoing inequities significantly foster mistrust in health information within at-risk communities in humanitarian settings.
  2. impact of Inequity-Driven Mistrust: We assess the far-reaching consequences of inequity-driven mistrust on managing infodemics and responding to humanitarian health emergencies.
  3. Mitigating Inequity-Driven Mistrust: To address these deeply rooted inequities that hinder effective infodemic management and emergency health responses, we propose strategies aimed at fostering trust and collaboration.

Our research findings underscore that systemic inequities can become deeply entrenched in postcolonial knowledge production structures, unequal health systems, and uneven medical supply distribution networks, profoundly influencing trust in information. Neglecting these systemic inequities significantly impedes our ability to manage infodemics and respond effectively to health emergencies.

Drawing from our empirical experience, we propose strategies that emphasize information ecosystem resilience, two-way communication, and community engagement as vital tools to navigate misinformation effectively. This research is an integral part of “Rooted in Trust,” a global pandemic information response initiative addressing the rampant spread of health misinformation.