Africa: The Pros And Cons Of Social Media In Global Health

Nick Ishmael Perkins | AllAfrica | October 21, 2013

I was invited to moderate a panel at the World Health Summit in Berlin this week. The focus of the session was social media's role in global health.

Within the first three hours of the summit, two other sessions had acknowledged that global health governance needed a shake-up and should move away from top-down, supply-driven models. Could social media, with their emphasis on dialogue and inherent transparency, be the solution?

Heidi Larson from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, whose brainchild this particular workshop was, did two things in her design of the panel that proved tactical: she was keen that we explore limitations as much as opportunities and she drew on a wide cross-section of institutions with differing approaches and objectives relating to health and social media.

Let me start with what were identified as the contributions of social media to health.