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2022: Two-year Impact Factor: 4.4
Scopus Journal Metrics
CiteScore (2022): 5.3
SNIP(2022):1.389
SJR(2022): 0.78
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Open Access

Health Promot Perspect. 2022;12(1): 22-27.
doi: 10.34172/hpp.2022.03
PMID: 35854855
PMCID: PMC9277293
Scopus ID: 85133052694
  Abstract View: 826
  PDF Download: 565
  Full Text View: 48

Perspective

The role of social media during the COVID-19 pandemic: Salvaging its ‘power’ for positive social behaviour change in Africa

Roda Madziva 1 ORCID logo, Brian Nachipo 2, Godfrey Musuka 3, Itai Chitungo 4, Grant Murewanhema 5, Bright Phiri 6, Tafadzwa Dzinamarira 6,7* ORCID logo

1 School of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Nottingham, United Kingdom
2 Ministry of Health and Child Care, Harare, Zimbabwe
3 ICAP at Columbia University, Harare, Zimbabwe
4 Chemical Pathology Unit, Department of Laboratory Diagnostic and Investigative and Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe
5 Unit of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Department of Primary Health Care Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe
6 ICAP at Columbia University, Pretoria, South Africa
7 School of Health Sciences & Public Health, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, 002, South Africa
*Corresponding Author: Corresponding Author: Tafadzwa Dzinamarira, Email: u19395419@up.ac.za; , Email: anthonydzina@gmail.com

Abstract

The ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic remains a significant global public health crisis. The unique evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic has seen social media emerging and growing into an important vehicle for rapid information dissemination. This has in turn given rise to multiple sources of information, leading to what has come to be known as ‘infodemic’, associated with the plethora of misinformation and conspiracy theories. In this perspective, we explore the growth of the social media industry and the impact it has had during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. We argue that while the multiple information pieces circulating on social media cause misinformation and panic, this might not necessarily and in all the cases influence sustained behaviours in the target population groups. We offer suggestions on how the power of social media can be harnessed and integrated into social and public health for a better digital balance for communication for development.
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Submitted: 06 Mar 2022
Revision: 10 Mar 2022
Accepted: 10 Mar 2022
ePublished: 29 May 2022
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