Original Research

A survey of online social networking used to support health awareness campaigns in the City of Johannesburg metropolitan municipality

Karin Eloff, Cornelius J. Niemand
SA Journal of Information Management | Vol 16, No 1 | a550 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajim.v16i1.550 | © 2014 Karin Eloff, Cornelius J. Niemand | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 22 January 2013 | Published: 21 August 2014

About the author(s)

Karin Eloff, Centre for Information and Knowledge Management, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Cornelius J. Niemand, Centre for Information and Knowledge Management, University of Johannesburg, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: The Department of Health (DoH) at the City of Johannesburg metropolitan municipality in South Africa develops various health awareness campaigns aimed at creating awareness of general health risks within the Johannesburg area. According to staff members of the DoH, the resources utilised in the current campaigns fail to reach a sufficiently broad audience and the campaigns struggle to deliver the intended messages. Furthermore, the development and implementation of campaigns are time consuming and costly.

Objectives: This research focused on how online social networking (OSN) can support health awareness campaigns for the DoH in the Johannesburg region. OSN may be regarded as a tool that will assist the DoH to reach a wider audience, send health-related messages and provide a two-way communication channel.

Method: The research used an exploratory research design with a purposive non-probability sample. A survey was used as the data collection instrument. Statistical analysis was performed on the data obtained from the surveys.

Results: The results indicate that the DoH can benefit from the use of OSN in health promotion campaigns. The benefits include, but are not limited to, an increase in engagement with the target market, ease of use and reach within the specified audience.

Conclusion: Although there are numerous advantages associated with the integration of OSN by the DoH, the DoH needs to develop training and development programmes for OSN to encourage its use by DoH staff members. The main aim of the programmes is to create internal OSN capabilities to support the OSN strategy.


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