Original Research

Using signalling theory to assess the Government of Ghana’s risk communication during the COVID-19 pandemic

Martin Owusu Ansah, Lucy Afeafa Ry-Kottoh, Enya B. Ameza-Xemalordzo, Godfred Aawaar
Health SA Gesondheid | Vol 27 | a1623 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hsag.v27i0.1623 | © 2022 Martin Owusu Ansah, Lucy Afeafa Ry-Kottoh, Enya B. Ameza-Xemalordzo, Godfred Aawaar | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 03 February 2021 | Published: 27 July 2022

About the author(s)

Martin Owusu Ansah, Department of Marketing and Corporate Strategy, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana
Lucy Afeafa Ry-Kottoh, Department of Publishing Studies, College of Art and Built Environment, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana
Enya B. Ameza-Xemalordzo, Department of Marketing and Corporate Strategy, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana
Godfred Aawaar, Department of Accounting and Finance, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana

Abstract

Background: The proliferation of information through social media and on other communication networks during the corona virus disease 2019 (COVID-19) era altered information transfer in many countries. The content of the messages from government officials, media coverage and alternative narratives, affected the level of compliance in adhering to the various health protocols amongst the public.

Aim: This article aimed to determine the relationship between the message used, media coverage, alternative narratives, the public’s attitude towards staying at home and their commitment to stay at home during the COVID-19 pandemic campaign period in Ghana.

Setting: A total of 352 respondents was sampled from the Kumasi metropolis.

Methods: A survey sample strategy and a convenience sampling technique were used while structural equation modelling with Partial least square (PLS) version 3.0 was used for the analysis.

Results: The study revealed that the nature of media coverage employed and the alternative narratives had a significant positive effect on the attitude of the respondents, whilst the content of the message had insignificant effects on the attitude of the public. Finally, the attitude of the people had a significant positive influence on their respective commitment to stay home.

Conclusion: Developing countries in Africa need to fight pandemics using purely subsidised health officials or directorates rather than have government-appointed health experts and officials spearheading activities during a pandemic.

Contribution: This study contributes to the clear understanding on some COVID-19 misinformation, the distinctive cost it poses to public health delivery in developing economies and the potential strategy of using neutral public health persons to curb the spread of the virus.


Keywords

COVID-19; coronavirus; pandemic; communication; partial least square modelling

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