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African media insights on COVID-19 dominance in relation to other health issues in the region

Over the last 2 years since COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic, media houses across the world have been keen on highlighting the contagion and its new developments. In the backdrop of the other still existing health issues in Africa, the question is what will the health media focus on in a post COVID-19 world?

Baird’s CMC, a health communications and policy research consultancy,  conducted interviews with over 40 health journalists and editors in a bid to acquire an in-depth look into their opinions on COVID-19 dominance and the expected future trends. 

Interviewees from the West African region said that  an increased level of COVID-19 vaccine acceptance will inevitably translate into a reduction in the number of infections. This in turn will reduce the  focus on COVID and cause  a shift in coverage. According to a number of them, the expected timeline to see a change in the COVID-19 dominance is by June 2022. 

The East African media on the other hand were less optimistic, especially due to the emerging COVID-19 variants, and predicted that the pandemic will maintain top priority in coverage over the next two to three years. After this period, they reckon that long term effective solutions such as better COVID-19 vaccines will have been developed and deployed in Africa, turning the epidemic from critical to manageable.

According to the respondents, their main focus on COVID-19 will be its variants, vaccines, accessibility, vaccination rates, as well as herd immunity. In spite of the COVID-19 dominance, other infectious diseases will take centre stage as a result of the lessons learned from the massive infection rate of COVID-19. Healthcare systems will also increase their efforts towards universal health coverage.

Audiences have, the journalists said, become more interested in health and more knowledgeable about it so they expect  that  other health topics will continue making headlines. The future focus is likely to be on  non-communicable diseases such as cancer, diabetes, respiratory diseases and climate change linked vector borne diseases. HIV/AIDS, malaria and ebola will also continue getting coverage.

You can access the detailed report here

Interviews were conducted by Fundamento, Hyderus and SPAG, three of Baird’s CMC partners, along with Alfa Communications and Havas PR Milan.

About Baird’s and Hyderus

Baird’s CMC is a global communications, policy and market research consultancy. Their partners offer companies, foundations, multinational organisations, NGOs and governments a world-leading consulting team.Hyderus is a global leader in providing international health advisory services and strategic communication advice to assist public and private entities in shaping policy, priorities and public attitudes.

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