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Table of Contents
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 38-39

Population outreach program in controlling COVID-19 through social media

Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, Jazan University, Jazan, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Date of Submission13-Apr-2020
Date of Acceptance15-Apr-2020
Date of Web Publication07-Jul-2020

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Syed Sadat Ali
#78, 7th Cross, Cambridge Layout, Ulsoor, Bengaluru - 560 008, Karnataka
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/AMJM.AMJM_26_20

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How to cite this article:
Ali SS. Population outreach program in controlling COVID-19 through social media. Amrita J Med 2020;16:38-9

How to cite this URL:
Ali SS. Population outreach program in controlling COVID-19 through social media. Amrita J Med [serial online] 2020 [cited 2022 Sep 27];16:38-9. Available from: https://ajmonline.org.in/text.asp?2020/16/1/38/289136

Dear Sir,

Social media has become an ineffaceable part of the public health coverage.[1],[2],[3] It contains a bulk of patient-generated information with an opportunity to effectively understand the patient perspective in terms of their healthcare behavior and perception toward quality life.[4]

In recent times, there is an increase level of public participation in a diverse range of health-related social media, which develops a new population of subjects whose natural, everyday engagement with health behaviors can be monitored and scientifically explored with a rapidly expanding range of social technologies. Technologies such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, WhatsApp, and a variety of other social tools have created novel opportunities to trace the interactions between social connectivity and health.[5] These social technologies can be used to outreach huge chunk of population for health education, to promote positive behavior, and alleviate their fears during an epidemic outbreak.

Social media helps combat misinformation and tries to reduce a lot of confusions generated by the news outlets. It is helpful to provide accurate, reassuring information to combat those concerns.[6] An online social network offers a unique opportunity for studying and understanding social interaction and communication among far larger populations now more than ever before. These can provide real-time surveillance system at a less costly rate rather than conventional surveillance systems.[7] The policymakers should utilize this surveillance systems in identifying the movement of individuals and should trace the affected population to prevent further progress of a pandemic at the cost of burden of time.

A proposed framework for studying social media use in disease management included identifying social media affordances for patients, surveying patients on their perceptions of social media use in healthcare, and piloting an online intervention to better target individual needs.[8] Accordingly, health sectors need to work along with rescue team in fulfilling their individual needs as per emergency basis.

Accurate and credible dissemination of correct information about the virus could help in decreasing the pandemic spread and associated apprehension in the population. The reliability of the content of posts pertaining to pandemic should be corroborated because this might affect herd behavior. Better curation of public health-related social media posts during the time of health crises and pandemics plays a major role in controlling the disaster.[9]

Thereby, our concern in using social media is to focus on three issues; (1) to alleviate fears among the population, (2) to promote health education regarding practices to be followed during pandemics, and (3) to use data surveillance in identifying the suspected cases and quarantine them at earliest to prevent further progress of the virus spread.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Chou WY, Hunt YM, Beckjord EB, Moser RP, Hesse BW. Social media use in the United States: Implications for health communication. J Med Internet Res 2009;11:e48.  Back to cited text no. 1
McNab C. What social media offers to health professionals and citizens. Bull World Health Organ 2009;87:566.  Back to cited text no. 2
Salathé M, Khandelwal S. Assessing vaccination sentiments with online social media: Implications for infectious disease dynamics and control. PLoS Comput Biol 2011;7:e1002199.  Back to cited text no. 3
Verhoef LM, Van de Belt TH, Engelen LJ, Schoonhoven L, Kool RB. Social media and rating sites as tools to understanding quality of care: A scoping review. J Med Internet Res 2014;16:e56.  Back to cited text no. 4
Centola D. Social media and the science of health behavior. Circulation 2013;127:2135-44. Available from: https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/circulationaha.112.101816. [Last accessed on 2020 Apr 03]  Back to cited text no. 5
Berg S. Doctor Uses Reach of Social Media to Ease COVID-19 Pandemic Fears; February, 2020. Available from: https://www.ama-assn.org/delivering-care/public-health/doctor-uses-reach-social-media-ease-co vid-19-pandemic-fears. [Last accessed on 2020 Apr 03].  Back to cited text no. 6
Al-Garadi MA, Khan MS, Varathan KW, Mujtaba G and Al-Kabsi AM. Using online social networks to track a pandemic: A systematic review. J Biomed Informat 2016;62:1-11.  Back to cited text no. 7
Merolli M, Gray K, Martin-Sanchez F. Developing a framework to generate evidence of health outcomes from social media use in chronic disease management. Med 2 0 2013;2:e3.  Back to cited text no. 8
Sharma M, Yadav K, Yadav N and C. Ferdinand K. Zika virus pandemic—Analysis of Facebook as a social media health information platform. Am J Infect Control 2017;45:301-2.  Back to cited text no. 9


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