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Volume 4 2020 Social media for communicating health information in Uganda: constraints and practical suggestions

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작성자 Aisha Sembatya Nakiwala, Fred Kakooza 작성일 20-12-28 19:16
Facebook   Health Communication   Social media  


African countries are experiencing an upsurge in the use of new information communication technologies, particularly the mobile phone. Such technologies have accelerated the use of social media platforms, such as Facebook, as tools for information dissemination on all aspects of life. Despite their widely acknowledged role in accelerating access to information, the health sector in developing countries has been reluctant to adopt social media platforms to communicate health. Through in-depth interviews, this paper explores experiences of selected health promoting organisations in Uganda of using Facebook to connect people to health. Understanding opportunities and constraints to using social media platforms in communicating health as argued from the communicative affordances approach can potentially improve health outcomes through augmenting not just access to health information but care as well. Our findings show that among others, Facebook provides opportunity for multimedia communication and specific targeting for health messages. Its potential for health communication is however constrained by financial, structural and technological limitations prevailing in organizations. We recommend that instead of overlooking social media as tools for health information dissemination, focus should be directed to addressing barriers to their effective utilisation.