A few weeks after the onset of the deadly Coronavirus pandemic, came the onset of an equally deadly (if not deadlier) enemy – infodemic, a term that Wiktionary aptly defines as “An excessive amount of information concerning a problem such that the solution is made more difficult.” Little wonder that the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres decried in a tweet that blatant lies are being spread at a petrifying rate: “We are seeing a dangerous outbreak of misinformation, from harmful health advice and hate speech to wild conspiracy theories. Our common enemy is #COVID19, but our enemy is also an “infodemic” of misinformation.” To which he quickly offered a solution: “To overcome the #coronavirus, we need to urgently promote facts and science, hope and solidarity over despair and division.”

Dr Anita Benson’s owns Sarkom Global Resources Limited, a retail community pharmacy with an innovative model to provide readily accessible and affordable pharmaceutical goods, as well as medical services through an in-house doctor to provide quality care for patients in Delta State. Dr Benson, a beneficiary of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) grant, among other things, bought into this noble gesture of consciously promoting facts over fear, bringing trustworthy Covid-19 information and guidance to her community – when she was recently faced with the challenge of stigma because a government-owned hospital close to her Pharmacy was converted to an isolation centre.
As a medical doctor, she has painstakingly embarked on both online and offline dispensing of facts and dispelling of myths, using Whatsapp, Facebook and Twitter. Doctor Benson’s has been a case of resilience and adaptation in the face of Covid-19: the lockdown and travel ban have somehow ‘conspired’ to create an out-of-stock situation for her as she’d usually source her drug supplies in bulk from manufacturers. She has been constrained to resort to middlemen leading to higher cost and lower profit margins.
However, Dr. Anita is addressing this sales challenge by procuring more immune boosters which are in high demand at this period. YALI is the United States’ signature effort to invest in the next generation of African leaders, providing grant funding to launch and expand their businesses across Africa.