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Covid-19 Messages, Mental Health and Foreign Aid

Victor Zacchaeus, John Ijaja and Tegan Mosugu

The dissemination of public information during pandemics leads to fear mongering and misinformation. In the context of health communication, this paper suggests that health communication ought to be as clear as possible and easily interpretable. This can be achieved by broadcasting public service announcements through radio, television, and billboard platforms in local dialects and official languages. Furthermore, clear and effective messaging would empower people with the necessary tools to prevent infectious diseases and take control of their well-being. Moreover, this paper also explores the mental health burden that people have during the pandemic and the role that foreign aid can play in alleviating human suffering. In Africa, very little is known or researched when it comes to mental health which becomes a great issue of concern during the COVID-19 pandemic. As people experience different forms of anxiety and depression resulting from fear, uncertainty, and loneliness, there are very limited resources for seeking help. When compared to the global rate, the number of Africans who receive care for their mental health is extremely low due to cultural norms and the limited number of mental health facilities and professionals. Nonetheless, the ability to achieve desirable health outcomes can significantly be boosted by foreign aid.

Foreign aid has proven to be a tool for alleviating human suffering during pandemics. Most developing countries rely on foreign aid in the wake of a pandemic either through monetary (bilateral/multilateral) assistance or relief items. In addition to providing emergency relief measures in highly informal sectors, foreign aid can be used as a tool to channel liquidity to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), households, and informal workers. This paper takes a systems approach in highlighting the ways in which some of the aforementioned factors can be efficiently leveraged to curb the rate of disease spread, which in turn alleviates the burden of human suffering.