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Communication Technology Tools in Public Health Campaigns

Instances that utilises communication technology tools in the public health campaigns

Public health campaigns boost awareness about health problems and rally support for action from the society (Glanz & Rimer, 2008). Communication technology tools can be utilised during the public health campaigns through numerous instances. Vaccination request, blood donation request, and teenage substance abuse awareness are some of the instances.

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Vaccination is the most efficient clinical interventions in public health. Annually, more than two million individuals succumb to diseases that can be prevented through vaccination. In this regard, appropriate communication technology tools should be utilised during vaccination awareness programs. Through this, the message will reach the intended audience.

Teenage substance abuse awareness is another instance that necessitates the utilisation of appropriate communication tools to be effective. Efficient prevention necessitates that identical messages about liquor, drugs, and cigarettes be conveyed to the youths by various messengers such as learning institutions, guardians, and society. The messages should be conveyed recurrently throughout infancy and teenage years.

Blood donation requests should also use appropriate communication tools to ensure that their messages reach the intended audience. A number of health organisations and charitable organisations urge the public to donate blood. Blood donation is considered an honourable act. Through the act, an individual contributes in helping a patient in need. In the society, there are numerous myths about the act. Therefore, through appropriate communication technology tools the public can be informed about the importance of blood donation. By doing so, the myths upheld by the society about the act will be demystified encouraging more people to participate.

Potential communication technology tools used in public health campaigns

In addition to social media, there are multiple communication technology tools utilised during public health promotions (Laureate Education Inc, 2011). In my public health campaigns, radio, TV, and print media will be utilised. My public health campaigns focus on Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone. The selected communication technology tools will be appropriate because through them a large number of audiences will receive the messages compared to using other available communication tools.

Unlike in the western countries, in Sierra Leone radio is still considered a very influential communication tool. Up to 86% of the country’s population has access to radio (Wolz, 2014). Therefore, the World Health Organisation and other organisations fighting the outbreak of Ebola in the region should use radio in their public health campaigns. Through the radio, the public should be informed about how to prevent Ebola, symptoms of the disease, how to handle Ebola patients, and how to seek medical assistance for the victims.

TV should also be utilised in disseminating information about Ebola in Sierra Leone. Although the number of people with access to TV is lower in the country, its usage will aid in preventing and stopping the spread of the disease. The TV will be beneficial to a number of city dwellers because they have access to the devices. Given that the city inhabitants are at higher risks of being infected by the disease compared with the rural inhabitants, the TV will come in handy in such instances. Through the TV, the public should be informed about Ebola prevention measures.

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Another communication tool that should be utilised in Sierra Leone is print media. Through the newspapers, magazines, and health publications, Sierra Leone’s government should educate the public about Ebola. In the country, a few individuals have adequate information about the causes, symptoms, interventions, and repercussions of the disease (World Health Organisation, 2015). In this regard, a number of myths about the disease exist. Therefore, the government should utilise the print media in educating the public about the disease.

Challenges to using the above communication technology tools

A number of challenges will be experienced while using the above communication tools in Sierra Leone. Two major challenges that would be expected in the public health campaigns are cost and shortage of staff.

To reach a number of audiences, Sierra Leone’s government must invest heavily in the public health campaigns. Much of the funds will be used in meeting the cost of TV and radio sensitisation programs. Given that a number of print media firms, TVs, and radio stations are privately owned, it would cost the government a lot of money to sponsor sensitisation programs.

Shortage of staff is also another challenge that will be experienced in the campaigns. With the outbreak of Ebola disease, the country’s health professionals have directed much of their efforts in preventing the spread of the disease and managing the infected persons. The above imply that a number of volunteers should be recruited to help in the fight against the disease.

Addressing the challenges

To address the above challenges, the government should seek help from the international community. Similarly, the government should encourage more volunteers to help in the fight against the disease. The international community will be helpful in managing Ebola in Sierra Leone. The international community will offer the much needed funds and expertise. With their help, the country can contain the spread of the deadly virus. By encouraging more volunteers, the government will address the shortage of workforce required in the fight against the disease. Volunteers would be appropriate because they would offer free services enabling the country to utilise more funds in preventing and curing the disease.

References

Glanz, K., & Rimer, B. (2008). Health behaviour and health education: Theory, research, and practice (4th ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Laureate Education Inc (2011). Introduction to communications, marketing, and public relations for public health leaders. Baltimore: Lancet

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World Health Organisation (2015). Sierra Leone: a traditional healer and a funeral. Web.

Wolz, A. (2014). Face to Face with Ebola — An Emergency Care Centre in Sierra Leone. New England Journal of Medicine, 2(5), 1081-1083.

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