Describe an example from the research literature of an effective health communication
program using mass media. What were the key outcomes of this program? What factors
and features made it successful?
Mass media encompasses platforms such as radio and television, which are fundamental
in the persuasion of an audience to adopt specific behaviors or to remind them of critical
information as well as warn them of potential threats. Besides the dissemination of vital
information to the public regarding new disease and places to seek assistance, mass media plays
an integral role in keeping community members updated on other essential activities such as
immunization campaigns. Additionally, it keeps the community informed on areas most affected,
and emergency steps that should be followed. Most fundamentally, mass media plays an integral
role in the empowerment of populations to fight against major causes of illnesses which are
preventable through vaccination. These are followed closely by informing large masses of daily
and seasonal variations in activities such as immunization campaigns, availability of new
products or services, and teaching new health skills. For instance, during the outbreak of Ebola in
West Africa in 201, the World Health Organization declared a public health emergency that
raised concern across the world (Gillespie et al. 2014). As such, the WHO worked
collaboratively with UNICEF in creating awareness and mobilizing society through the
communication for development (C4D) initiative.
Consequently, the use of mass media in the creation of awareness and sensitization of the
public on the outbreak of Ebola has significantly contributed to the placement of community
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engagement of the community, and mobilization of society in the humanitarian response
strategies applied across the world. It further contributed to the establishment of strategic C4D
processes alongside indicators of the impact and the provision of rapid feedback to the
authorities and communities, thereby informing the decision-making process (Gillespie et al.
2014). Similarly, the use of mass media platforms such as radio made the operation successful as
it created a stable link between health workers and the public at large. These were coupled with
quintessential strides made towards understanding the complexity of the disease and the
generation of reports on ways of preventing it.
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Gillespie, A. M., Obregon, R., El Asawi, R., Richey, C., Manoncourt, E., Joshi, K., Quereshi, S.
(2016). Social Mobilization and Community Engagement Central to the Ebola Response
in West Africa: Lessons for Future Public Health Emergencies. Global Health: Science
and Practice, 4(4),