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Effectiveness of social media for communicating health messages in Ghana

Richard Bannor (Department of Public Administration and Health Services Management, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana)
Anthony Kwame Asare (Department of Marketing, Quinnipiac University, Hamden, Connecticut, USA)
Justice Nyigmah Bawole (Department of Public Administration and Health Services Management, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana)

Health Education

ISSN: 0965-4283

Publication date: 5 June 2017

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to develop an in-depth understanding of the effectiveness, evolution and dynamism of the current health communication media used in Ghana.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper uses a multi-method approach which utilizes a combination of qualitative and quantitative approaches. In-depth interviews are conducted with health promotion professionals in Ghana and 150 members of the general public were surveyed.

Findings

The paper finds that the general public sees social media as an effective place for health professionals to share health-related messages. They also view health-related messages on social media seriously. Health professionals see social media as an effective tool for sending health-related messages to the public and are concerned about the fact that traditional media are losing their effectiveness as means to share health-related messages.

Research limitations/implications

This study was conducted in Ghana. Future studies should be conducted across multiple countries to examine the conclusions developed in this paper and the possibility of multiple perspectives regarding the use of social media for sending health messages.

Practical implications

The results inform public health officials on developments in health communication and suggest prescriptions on how to adjust to the new media.

Originality/value

Health messaging is an area that has been relatively ignored in the literature and almost no research focusses on the effectiveness of social media and other health messaging technologies, particularly in developing countries. Although the study was conducted in Ghana, health professionals worldwide can use the findings to help improve their health messaging strategies.

Keywords

Citation

Bannor, R., Asare, A.K. and Bawole, J.N. (2017), "Effectiveness of social media for communicating health messages in Ghana", Health Education, Vol. 117 No. 4, pp. 342-371. https://doi.org/10.1108/HE-06-2016-0024

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited