The COVID-19 pandemic has caused millions of deaths and placed enormous strain on health systems and economies worldwide. The outcomes of the pandemic depend heavily on individuals across the globe changing their behaviours, whether wearing masks, following physical distancing advice, washing hands more often or seeking treatment. Our COVID-19 campaigns help millions of people in Sub-Saharan Africa inform and protect themselves and loved ones from the disease and mitigate against the indirect impacts of the pandemic.


A global pandemic

COVID-19 caused over 1.8 million deaths worldwide in 2020 and 50,000 deaths in Africa, largely concentrated in a small number of countries. In 2021 new, more transmissible strains of the virus are emerging, and these numbers are likely to increase. While many countries in Africa are effectively addressing the direct health impacts of the virus, progress against other health issues is slowing and reversing dangerously. The WHO predicted, for example, that significant disruptions in access to antimalarial treatment could lead to tens of thousands of additional deaths in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2020.

A face mask as an indication this project focuses on covid-19

The numbers

recorded COVID-19 deaths in 2020
potential additional malaria deaths in 2020

Our COVID-19 work

Three aims

Knowledge and behaviours are key to protecting against COVID-19 and its indirect impacts. We also know the vital role that mass media plays as the main source of information on COVID-19. Our radio, TV and social media campaigns support government responses to the coronavirus pandemic in three ways:

  1. By providing locally relevant information about COVID-19 and promoting hygiene and physical distancing,
  2. By sharing information about how, where and when to safely seek care and look after one’s health during the pandemic, and
  3. By promoting vaccine acceptance and uptake when the vaccine is rolled out in the countries where we work.

We have generated robust evidence that DMI’s Saturation+ interventions can generate demand for health services, promote life-saving behaviour change, improve hygiene behaviours and shift routine household behaviours.