This article analyses media coverage and public communications over the time of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa 2013-2016 with a focus on the interations between scientifically grounded information and messages from cultural and religious actors. The study found that generally publics' were acceptance of scientifically grounded prevention information was problematic as at times these contradicted existing norms and practices. It also found that mistrust and rumours around Western governments and pharamaceuticals also impacted on people's trust and acceptance of scientifically grounded advice. 

Findings show the importance of non-scientific information and actors in matters of health and illness in Africa.

And the article concludes by stating that: Scientific knowledge is not enough to change health behaviour. Non-scientific knowledge and actors, traditional and religious practices, rumours and conspiracy theories must all be factored into efforts to address behavioural change.

The full article can be downloaded from the South African Journal of Science

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.




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