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Centre of Governance & Human Rights (CGHR)


When health crises occur, communication between citizens and healthcare professionals often fails. We know that ensuring communication is imperative during a crisis, but communication cannot be just one-way, with communities only on the receiving end of public health advice. People need to be able to speak back to health care professionals to share their own knowledge about health systems and disease.

radio station in Cape Verde

New solutions are possible with digital media. These solutions are rapidly deployable, flexible, locally relevant, and inclusive of diverse linguistic landscapes. This is our challenge: to help ameliorate health crises by opening crucial two-way communication lines between knowledgeable populations and those who would provide a well developed and informed response.

Epidemics, Digital Media and Health Communications in Africa is an 18-month research and evaluation project funded by The Wellcome Trust and the Department for International Development (DFID) to better understand – and concurrently evaluate – the validity, reliability and scalability of using local language community radio and interactive SMS messaging as a two-way communications platform for rapid citizen-centred research and communications.

With project sites in Cape Verde and Somalia, we are working with local and international health and media actors to develop and evaluate interactive radio programming. Together, we advance a combination of digital citizen-generated data, social science methods, and advanced data analysis techniques, to rapidly include the everyday challenges of individuals and communities into public health knowledge systems.

Our effort takes seriously the dynamic socio-cultural and structural contexts that shape how people make decisions about their and their families’ health. Our purpose-designed interactive radio programming accounts for potential uncertainty and is flexible enough to absorb and recalibrate in response to the systemic disruptions caused by health crises.


Experience how Africa’s Voices interactive radio method worked in Somalia.

Funded by

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Media and Digital Technologies for Mixed Methods Research in Public Health Emergencies Such as COVID-19: Lessons Learned From Using Interactive Radio–SMS for Social Research in Somalia
Johanna Riha, Claudia Abreu Lopes, Naima Abdi Ibrahim, Sharath Srinivasan

Journal of Mixed Methods Research