Community Members cite pandemic Fatigue as Covid-19 Demand Creation campaigns Continue DigiRedio 15 September 2023

Community Members cite pandemic Fatigue as Covid-19 Demand Creation campaigns Continue

At the height of COVID-19 pandemic Kenya Government introduced and conducted several COVID-19 demand creation campaigns. The campaigns initially aimed at encouraging adherence to safety protocols, promote vaccination, and raise awareness about the importance of preventing the spread of the virus.
UNICEF, through the DigiRedio Social and behavior change platform, has continued supporting the Government of Kenya to sustain the campaign in 50 community radio stations across the country. The campaign targeting Young people, was designed to encourage young people and community members to go get the vaccines in pools/groups. While these messages played a vital role in educating and engaging the public, their prolonged presence on the radio has left many feeling overwhelmed and fatigued.

In recent weeks, the community radio stations have been inundated with complaints from community members expressing frustration and fatigue over the continuous running of the COVID-19 demand creation campaign. While there is eminent resurgence of the Virus that prompts need for continuous efforts in combating the COVID-19 threat, many residents have voiced their concerns on why the campaign is still on going. Speaking during a DigiRedio update meeting, station managers and presenters gave feedback on the need to redesign the campaign as listeners argue that the repetitive nature of the campaigns does little to motivate or engage the community, and instead exacerbates pandemic fatigue.

It was also noted that lack of trust on the local leaders has increasingly contributed to the resistance from the community, as most of them feel that there has not been proper accountability from the duty bearers in previous interventions. Kipchumba Korir, journalist with radio Injili, covering Bomet and Kericho counties, reiterated that they have faced opposition from the community members who claim that COVID-19 is non-existent thus no need of them being swamped with information about it. Angelina Mkabili from Mwanedu Radio in Taita Taveta indicated that it, was difficult to get people to respond to discussion on topics related to COVID-19 as it was long gone.

“They don’t even respond to street interviews when you go for Vox Pops most of them have developed a defensive attitude on information regarding COVID-19”

Angelina Mkabili - Mwanedu Radio

WHO chief declared the end to COVID-19 as a global health emergency. The head of the UN World Health Organization (WHO) declared “with great hope” an end to COVID-19 as a public health emergency, stressing that it does not mean the disease is no longer a global threat, thus necessitating need for continuous creation of awareness in different mediums.

In response to the growing complaints, community radio station managers and presenters acknowledged the community’s concerns and need to evaluate the campaign strategies. They understand the need to strike a balance between promoting important health information and avoiding excessive pandemic messaging that contributes to fatigue.

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