Covid-19 has devastated the global health infrastructure in all means and ways and countries are struggling to control the spread of the disease. In this regard psychological impacts of Covid-19 can’t be ignored. Keeping this aspect in view, Department of Biotechnology, Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) in collaboration with UNESCO office Jakarta arranged a one-day conference “Awareness on the Psychological Consequences and Mental Health in Pandemics’’ A Case of Covid-19 Infodemic”. The conference was organized to celebrate the theme “Science for and with the Society in Dealing with Global Pandemic”.
Prof. Dr. Muhammad Ali, Vice Chancellor, Quaid-i-Azam University attended the conference as chief guest. The experts were of the view that a huge chunk of misinformation during the pandemic has caused a major concern that has paved a way for fear and anxiety resulting in a psychological burden and mental stress among the general population, patients, health professionals, physicians etc. Such psychological distresses can make people more vulnerable to the other viral/bacterial infections including SARS-CoV-2.
Prof. Dr. Zabta Khan Shinwari, Professor Emeritus, QAU, stressed the need to control the spread of myths and rumors related to the pandemic. “We must learn to listen science and counter misinformation”. Dr. Ali Talha Khalil from Lady Reading Hospital explained that the virus is getting smarter through a natural process of adaptations which signifies the need for proactive strategies to cope. He further explained that psychological stress ends in weakened immune system and can make people more prone to viral infections. He also briefed the participants about the contribution of social isolation to suicidal behavior and how to be prepared for smart virus and evolving pandemic.
Dr. Javed Muhammad from University of Haripur focused on appropriate use of social media to deal with fake news, journalists training on health and scientific topics to verify information so public can get authentic information from media. Dr. Tabinda Malik, senior advisor health security from Washington D.C talked about the effect of Covid-19 on mental health and how to take care of oneself and community during pandemic.