As I watched Social Good Summit 2012 recently held by Mashable, so many questions came to my mind. One of them was: “Is social media being used to change or encourage the development of health or healthy policies in Africa”? Social media has the capacity to galvanize communities, foster discussion and get the attention of policy makers to create healthy policies like smoke-free laws-which are so few in the continent; policies that encourage breastfeeding, and ensure good roads and development within African nations. We have all seen the impact of social media all over the world from the Arab spring to Ushadidi. Also, most social media platforms are quite inexpensive and can be used easily to engage subscribers. With mobile phone technology with web capabilities becoming ubiquitous on the African continent, I do think that there is a huge potential to utilize social media to influence health policy-making on the African Continent.
I could not find any research on the social media and policymaking in Africa. However, I am aware of international organizations that use social media platforms for various forms of health promotion. Yet, what about grassroots organizations? Are you aware of any example of social media being utilized to influence decision-making in the health sector in Africa? Do you think it can be an effective tool? Do let us know your thoughts!