Press coverage of the Ebola epidemic in Liberia

‘Mass media play an important role in documenting national responses to crises like Ebola. Reviewing media documentation helps a country better prepare for current and future public health challenges. Ebola articles first appeared in the Liberian press in March 2014. Our objectives were to determine the frequency of newspaper accounts and the major issues covered…’

‘News reports frequency paralleled the incidence pattern of the disease. Major themes included the state of the epidemic, health care, psychosocial issues, international aid, political response, prevention, and local support. Overall political response to Ebola and the impact of Ebola on health workers received the most attention. In the early days common themes were border security and requests for aid…’

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As a personal comment, I would be very interested to know something about the quality and reliability of practical healthcare information disseminated by the newspapers in Ebola-affected countries. To what extent did the newspapers promote health behaviours that would help prevent spread of the disease and encourage early referral for treatment? How might the MoH’s in affected countries be better supported in future to collaborate with the mass media?

Best wishes, Neil

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