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[Commlist] call for book chapters: Communicating health and pandemics in Africa: Theory, Practice, and Guidelines

Fri Jan 15 21:23:44 GMT 2021

Call for Book Chapters


Communicating health and pandemics in Africa: Theory, Practice, and Guidelines

Editors: Emmanuel Ngwainmbi, PhD1 & Levi Zeleza Manda, PhD2


The rapid spread of the SARs-COV 2, or novel coronavirus, the causative agent of COVID-19, from the City of Wuhan in China in late 2019, has wrought a lot of anxiety and economic downturn in the world. Political tempers have flared up with the West, led by the US, accusing China of deliberately releasing the virus into the world or covering it up until the infection reached pandemic levels. The World Health Organization (WHO) has been accused of being complicit in China's 'hiding' of the coronavirus.

This West versus East (China) 'conflict' has led to a lack of international agreements on a common approach to eliminating the virus. Russia, China, the US, Germany, France, Australia, and the UK are all working on their candidate vaccines. When Russia announced its Sputnik 5 vaccine release, the West was skeptical, but China and other sympathizers of Russia either overtly or silently managed the news. Then, by December 2020, Pfizer and Moderna had announced they had an effective vaccine. January 11, 2021, Pfizer announced it can quickly develop vaccines for future Covid-19 variants, fueling suspicions that a world order ordained by the Rockefeller Foundation, per its website, put in place in 2010 an assimilated plan to reduce the world population, annihilate the African population, and strain the global economy. However, media reports show that a densely populated Africa has so far recorded less than 50,000 deaths, whereas, as USA Today reports, health experts had forecasted that African health care systems would be overwhelmed as cases of COVID-19 escalated, and deaths exceeded 300,000 to nearly 3 million.3 To see how a region with 1.3 billion people living under challenging socio-economic conditions reports such a low mortality rate from a pandemic that is causing

1 He teaches in the Human Communication Studies Department, University of North Carolina, Charlotte, USA; author & Editor of 20 books.

2 Managing Editor, Journal of Development and Communication Studies; Executive Director, Development Media Consulting, Blantyre, Malawi, and Senior Lecturer, Department of Journalism, Blantyre International University, Malawi

3 USA Today, <> The claim: The African continent has only seen 46,000 novel coronavirus deaths. Retrieved, January 13, 2021


havoc in ‘advanced’ countries like the US, France, and the UK, we need to understand how information and communication of the pandemic in particular and health in general is perceived and managed.

Even as a global vaccination program is in progress to protect people from the virus and combat the pandemic, which has killed almost 2 million people globally4 and infected 80 million people since late December 2020, the coronavirus has caused rifts akin to the cold war. Thus, in addition to being a health and economic challenges, pandemics can be peace and security, geopolitical, and international relations.

Pandemics are not uncommon in the history of humanity. But it is probably the first time a pandemic has spread this fast and widely, virtually shutting down the world economy and education system. As Joseph Stiglitz5 and others have argued, one reason is that globalization has facilitated not only seamless travel; unfettered economic, business and trade, and online education facilitated by enhanced communications but also religious fundamentalism, the cultural dominance of peripheral communities by the economically wealthy core members of the so-called global village, and epidemics/pandemics.

Unlike EBOLA and HIV/AIDS and other relatively recent emergencies, which were mostly localized to specific epicenters such as West Africa for EBOLA, sub-Saharan Africa, and South Asia for HIV/AIDs, the COVID-19 pandemic has respected no borders and generated a frenzy of medical science, political blame games including conspiracies such as China deliberately unleashed the virus on the world economy; religious protests against the compulsory wearing of masks in the USA, France and Germany, and a plethora of 'fake' cures and medicines.

An infodemic has complicated the WHO's task, international health organizations, and national ministries of health with a barrage of mostly false and fake information about the disease. Its image, as the face of world health, is being challenged as some health experts, development communication scholars, and media outlets question its role in promoting access to (Covid-19) vaccines and other forms of treatment produced in the West while undermining those made in countries like Madagascar and Cameroon.

Nevertheless, the COVID-19 infodemic has affected journalists' work, essentially because most journalists were not prepared enough to cover science, diseases, and sanitation issues and do not have adequate reference materials, guidelines, and toolkits. As a result, in most African media, pandemics and health coverage is often shallow and somewhat haphazard. The linkage between development, international and national budgets and disease often miss. So, does investigative journalism. Moreover, based on personal

4 Data from the CDC · WHO · ECDC · Wikipedia · The New York Times retrieved January 13, 2021

5 Globalization and its discontents


experiences,6 communication officers in governmental, intergovernmental, and non-governmental institutions do not adequately construct or communicate health information to the affected population, leaving the masses vulnerable to infectious diseases and more reliant on unsafe traditional healing methods.

While numerous textbooks on teaching and practicing health journalism exist (with the UNESCO Model Curriculum7 being widely used), few focus on pandemics such as COVID-19 and how they relate to, among other things, international development; economic growth; universal education, agricultural production, and climate change. Even the cited UNESCO Model Curriculum does not go deep enough to provide a standalone resource. The Model curriculum is mostly a compilation of curricula and syllabi. While health appears several times, the keywords' pandemic' and 'sanitation' do not appear anywhere in the entire model curriculum. This is a severe lacuna, and it reveals a lack of focus on what the proposed textbook intends to achieve.


Because this book seeks to provide the theoretical and historical context of the challenges in communicating health in Africa as well as the practice, guidelines, or tools needed for sharing health issues and pandemics in Africa, book chapters will be written in the form of (a) enlightening readers (health practitioners, media personnel, policymakers); (b) constructive recommendations for proper communication of health matters and pandemics; and (c) offering teaching and learning modules using case studies, examples, exercises and sample test questions. The book will specifically:

- Explain how health and pandemics in Africa have been reported and communicated to African and external publics by journalists, news networks, and other communication professionals

- Offer general recommendations for communicating health and pandemics to healthcare administrators and intergovernmental institutions

- Provide materials for teaching and learning about communication for health, Sanitation, and pandemics, and tools for journalists covering pandemics, health, and sanitation

Provisional Table of Contents: Topical areas

6 Editor, Emmanuel Ngwainmbi, has worked as a communication consultant for 9 international development agencies in Africa and as a Communication Adviser in various countries in east, central, north and southern Africa

7 Model curricula for journalism education: a compendium of new syllabi


Part 1a: Background of Health Communication, Information Sharing, and management

- History and nature of communicating health in Africa and about Africa

- Reviews of coverage of pandemics and health issues by the foreign and local press

- The political economy of health coverage in Africa

- Health and pandemics coverage in Africa: Case studies: Ebola; AIDS; COVID-19,

- How populations perceive news about pandemics (cultures and taboos, etc.)

- How populations manage communications about health (factors influencing temporal and sustainable information management)

- Social accountability and health journalism in Africa

- Ethics of health and pandemics reporting in Africa

- Understanding and communicating health research and science

- Pandemics and Infodemics, misinformation, disinformation

- Nexus between health, journalism, and development in Africa

- Media Coverage of the UN Sustainable Development Health goal in Africa

- Media and Africa's 'normalized' diseases, e.g., Malaria

- Evidence-informed health journalism and advocacy for policy change in Africa

- Women, Youth and disadvantage groups, health and journalism in Africa

- Budgets and health allocations in Africa

- Cures, treatments and vaccines and media coverage in Africa

- Socio-religio-cultural factors influencing the spread of pandemics

Part 1b: Regional Case studies

- Radio coverage of health and pandemics in Western or Eastern or Northern or Southern Africa

- Newspaper and magazine coverage of health and pandemics in Western or Eastern Northern and Southern Africa

- Social/citizen media coverage of health and pandemics in Western or Eastern Northern and Southern Africa

- Multimedia coverage of health and pandemics in Western or Eastern Northern and Southern Africa

- TV coverage of health and pandemics in Western or Eastern Northern and Southern Africa

- Tools/guidelines for covering non-communicable diseases: Diabetes, Asthma, Hypertension, etc.

Part 2: General Recommendations for proper messaging and communication of health information


Part 3: Learning modules


- experiences in communicating health in Africa from communication scholars, health practitioners, healthcare administrators

- Learning objectives

- Key Concepts (defined)

- Cases/Examples

- Revision exercises

- Field exercise

- Sample answers


Abstract only with the title due February 27, 2021

Preliminary acceptance/rejection notification: March 10, 2021

Full chapter submission: June 30, 2021

First review notification: July 31, 2021

Revised chapter submission: August 31, 2020

Camera-Ready Submission: September 30, 2021


Please send your abstract of 300- 500 words and six keywords along with a short bio 200-300 words, and a tentative Time of Completion to Prof. Emmanuel Ngwainmbi ((engwainmbi /at/ <mailto:(engwainmbi /at/>) with the subject "Challenges of communicating health and pandemics in Africa: Theory, Practice, and Guidelines-BOOK chapter." Upon acceptance of your proposal, further instructions for Press submission guidelines will be communicated

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