Social Media Usage in Health Communication and Its Implications on Public Health Security: A Case Study of COVID-19 in Zanzibar

Rashid Maalim Khamis 1, Yiqun Geng 1 *

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Although social media are extensively employed in health communication promotion, their online and offline connection has rarely tested. This qualitatively study used a sample of 30 communication experts and health professionals to explore the role of social media in mitigating COVID-19 infections and its implications to people’s health in Zanzibar. The findings revealed that social media are powerful platforms in providing health awareness information for mitigating COVID-19 and these platforms have enabled people to understand local medicines used to reduce the COVID-19 infections. In addition, there is high connection between online health information and offline people’s health actions. Furthermore, Social media usage poses no threat to peoples’ health during pandemic, however, there is high risk to affect those who lack Internet media literacy. Although social media poses no threat to some Internet media literate users, digital media literacy should be provided to all people in order to use these platforms more useful in mitigating infected diseases without compromising public health in Zanzibar and Africa at large.


social media health communication public health security


This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Article Type: Research Article

Online Journal of Communication and Media Technologies, Volume 11, Issue 1, January 2021, Article No: e202101

Published Online: 16 Jan 2021

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