Developing effective communication about a global pandemic in a multilingual space: Language choice and language use in COVID-19 campaigns in Ghana

Grant number: COV19\201563

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Key facts

  • Disease

  • Known Financial Commitments (USD)

  • Funder

    British Academy
  • Principle Investigator

  • Research Location

    Ghana, Africa
  • Lead Research Institution

    University of York, Department of Language and Linguistic Science
  • Research Category

    Policies for public health, disease control & community resilience

  • Research Subcategory

    Approaches to public health interventions

  • Special Interest Tags


  • Study Subject


  • Clinical Trial Details


  • Broad Policy Alignment


  • Age Group

    Adults (18 and older)

  • Vulnerable Population


  • Occupations of Interest



This project aims to improve communication about COVID-19 in a multilingual African context. In Ghana, most COVID-19 information is communicated in English, which may restrict comprehension and efficacy. Focusing on language and using quantitative and qualitive analyses, the project evaluates the effectiveness of COVID-19 campaigns in two communities in Accra with low literacy - one monolingual, traditional and non-mobile, the other multilingual, containing female migrants from Northern Ghana. In focus groups and interviews, community members discuss their knowledge and beliefs about COVID-19 and their sources of information. This informs the development of alternative COVID-19 health promotional materials that take the linguistic and cultural characteristics of the communities into account. Their impact will be assessed in further focus groups. Findings will be presented at a workshop with stakeholders from local authorities and the Health Ministry, as well as teachers and religious leaders. A policy brief will be produced following the workshop.