A paper written by Ge Pu, a postgraduate student in the Institute of Chinese Medical Sciences (ICMS), University of Macau (UM), was ranked among the ‘Top Ten Best Papers on Health Communication in China’ at the 15th China National Health Communication Conference.

Titled ‘Systematic Evaluation of COVID-19 Related Health Rumours’, the paper selected various health rumours circulating in China during the epidemic and evaluated them with scientific tools from adapted health science works. The study has found that health information often does not need to be reviewed before it is published on the internet, which facilitates the spread of rumours, and this is a major cause of the spread of COVID-19-related health rumours on the Chinese internet. Among all online platforms, WeChat is the hardest-hit in terms of rumour circulation. Based on this finding, Ge collected a large number of rumours, and after argumentation and analysis, he reached a scientific conclusion that was recognised by experts and judges at the conference.

Ge Pu joined ICMS in 2020 and his supervisor is Prof Ying Bian. Ge has participated in various research studies, including a project on the 2020 China Family Health Index, a project on China’s emergency communication system, and another one on parents’ role in children’s medication adherence.

The China National Health Communication Conference was jointly launched by the National Health Commission (formerly known as the Ministry of Health) and Tsinghua University in 2006. This year’s conference attracted more than 300 participants, including leaders, experts, and scholars from different fields.