Innovative strategies to promote global health: Lessons from the Covid-19 pandemic


  • Andrew John Macnab (1) Department of Pediatrics, University of British Columbia, Canada. (2) The Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS), Wallenberg Research Center at Stellenbosch University South Africa.



Health education, Health literacy, Misinformation, Public health, Public trust, Vaccine hesitancy, Covid-19 pandemic


The current view is that the hold of the Covid-19 virus is now being altered from pandemic to endemic status with global cooperation. While vaccination remains a central component of the public health interventions required to achieve this, a range of innovative health promotion strategies are also needed in parallel if we are to ensure that the pandemic continues to wane further.

Research and personal experience tell us that Covid-19 vaccines offer high protection against severe illness, aid the delivery of health care and save lives. However, WHO communiqués reiterate that vaccine hesitancy is a major threat to global health and that many countries still need to improve vaccination rates. It is also stated that in order to do this innovative strategies are needed to establish greater trust, improve communication and reduce misinformation. Consequently health care providers are being urged to build on lessons learned during the pandemic, find ways to build trust, counter residual vaccine hesitancy and promote other health related behaviors that are inclusive, allay fears and avoid scapegoating. 

Importantly, the strategies needed to increase willingness to be vaccinated and promote the health-related knowledge and behaviors necessary for the pandemic to continue to wane are now known to be highly country-specific, and regional differences in what approaches are required are also evident within counties. Consequently, as health care providers we need to develop innovative strategies and employ task shifting to the meet the specific needs of the individual populations we serve. This review summarizes ways to approach this challenge based the core principles advocated by WHO for promoting health literacy and changing behaviors; community empowerment, people-centered strategies, innovative education, novel and improved tools, training to respond to local needs, and the use of non-traditional avenues and outlets.


Download data is not yet available.


Agyepong, I. A., Sewankambo, N., Binagwaho, A., Coll-Seck, A. M., Corrah, T., Ezeh, A., Fekadu, A., Kilonzo, N., Lamptey, P., Masiye, F., et al. (2017). The path to longer and healthier lives for all Africans by 2030: the lancet commission on the future of health in sub-Saharan Africa. The Lancet, 390(10114):2803-2859.

Cascini, F., Pantovic, A., Al-Ajlouni, Y., Failla, G., and Ricciardi, W. (2021). Attitudes, acceptance and hesitancy among the general population worldwide to receive the COVID-19 vaccines and their contributing factors: A systematic review. EClinicalMedicine, 40, 101113.

Ditekemena, J., Koole, O., Engmann, C., Matendo, R., Tshefu, A., Ryder, R., and Colebunders, R. (2012). Determinants of male involvement in maternal and child health services in sub-Saharan Africa: a review. Reproductive Health, 9(1), 1-8.

Dubé, E., Laberge, C., Guay, M., Bramadat, P., Roy, R., and Bettinger, J. A. (2013). Vaccine hesitancy: an overview. Human vaccines and Immunotherapeutics, 9(8), 1763-1773.

Dunlap, J., Foderingham, N., Bussell, S., Wester, C. W., Audet, C. M., and Aliyu, M. H. (2014). Male involvement for the prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission: A brief review of initiatives in East, West, and Central Africa. Current HIV/AIDS Reports, 11, 109-118.

Dzinamarira, T., Nachipo, B., Phiri, B., and Musuka, G. (2021). COVID-19 vaccine roll-out in South Africa and Zimbabwe: urgent need to address community preparedness, fears and hesitancy. Vaccines, 9(3), 250.

Echoru, I., Ajambo, P. D., Keirania, E., and Bukenya, E. E. (2021). Sociodemographic factors associated with acceptance of COVID-19 vaccine and clinical trials in Uganda: a cross-sectional study in western Uganda. BMC Public Health, 21(1), 1106.

Freeman, D., Lambe, S., Yu, L.M., Freeman, J., Chadwick, A., Vaccari, C., et al., (2021). Injection fears and COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy. Psychological Medicine, 1-24.

Geoghegan, S., O'Callaghan, K., and Offit, P. (2020). Vaccine Safety: Myths and Misinformation. Frontiers in Microbiology, 11: 372.

Gilmore, B., Ndejjo, R., Tchetchia, A., De Claro, V., Mago, E., Lopes, C., and Bhattacharyya, S. (2020). Community engagement for COVID-19 prevention and control: a rapid evidence synthesis. BMJ Global Health, 5(10), e003188.

Hotez, P.J., Nuzhath, T., and Colwell, B. (2019). Combating vaccine hesitancy and other 21st century social determinants in the global fight against measles. Current Opinion in Virology, 41:1-7.

Jain, M., Engelbert, M., Gaarder, M., Bagai, A. and Eyers, J. (2020). PROTOCOL: Use of community participation interventions to improve child immunisation in low"and middle"income countries: A systematic review and meta"analysis. Campbell Systematic Reviews, 16(4).

Larson, H. The biggest pandemic risk? Viral misinformation. (2018). Nature, 562(7726): 309-310.

Lazarus, J. V., Ratzan, S. C., Palayew, A., Gostin, L. O., Larson, H. J., Rabin, K., et al. (2021). A global survey of potential acceptance of a COVID-19 vaccine. Nature Medicine, 27(2), 225-228.

Macnab, A. J., Gagnon, F. A., and Stewart, D. (2014). Health promoting schools: consensus, strategies, and potential. Health Education, 114(3), 170-185.

Macnab, A.J. and Mukisa, R. (2019). Celebrity endorsed music videos: innovation to foster youth health promotion. Health Promotion International, 34(4):716-725.

Macnab, A. J. (2020). Global health initiatives to reduce malaria morbidity in school-aged children. GHMJ (Global Health Management Journal), 4(1), 5-20.

Macnab, A. C. (2022). 19: health promotion strategies suited to further global containment of the pandemic. J Human Virology & Retrovirology, 9(2), 44-47.

Marmot, M., Friel, S., Bell, R., Houweling, T. A., and Taylor, S. (2008). Closing the gap in a generation: health equity through action on the social determinants of health. The Lancet, 372(9650), 1661-1669.

Pronyk, P., Sugihantono, A., Sitohang, V., Moran, T., Kadandale, S., Muller, S., Whetham, C., and Kezaala, R. (2019). Vaccine hesitancy in Indonesia. The Lancet Planetary Health, 3(3):e114-5.

Rodriguez-Morales, A. J., and Franco, O. H. (2021). Public trust, misinformation and COVID-19 vaccination willingness in Latin America and the Caribbean: today's key challenges. The Lancet Regional Health-Americas, 3.

Sallam, M. (2021). COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy worldwide: a concise systematic review of vaccine acceptance rates. Vaccines, 9(2):160.

Triwardani, R. (2021). Indonesian officials and media fight vaccine hesitancy, misinformation. Asian Politics & Policy, 13(4):635-9.

Turinawe, E. B., Rwemisisi, J. T., Musinguzi, L. K., de Groot, M., Muhangi, D., de Vries, D. H., et al. (2015). Selection and performance of village health teams (VHTs) in Uganda: lessons from the natural helper model of health promotion. Human Resources for Health, 13(1), 1-11.

Viner, R. M., Ozer, E. M., Denny, S., Marmot, M., Resnick, M., Fatusi, A., and Currie, C. (2012). Adolescence and the social determinants of health. The Lancet, 379(9826), 1641-1652.

Wang, H., Paulson, K. R., Pease, S. A., Watson, S., Comfort, H., Zheng, P., et al. (2022). Estimating excess mortality due to the COVID-19 pandemic: a systematic analysis of COVID-19-related mortality, 2020-21. The Lancet, 399(10334), 1513-1536.

WHO (2021). (accessed January 21 2023).

WHO (2022). (accessed January 21 2023).



How to Cite

Macnab, A. J. . (2023). Innovative strategies to promote global health: Lessons from the Covid-19 pandemic. GHMJ (Global Health Management Journal), 6(1), 47-53.


Similar Articles

1-10 of 84

You may also start an advanced similarity search for this article.

Most read articles by the same author(s)

1 2 > >>