Original Research

Transboundary COVID-19 response on health communication in Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe

Mark Nyandoro, Takafira Mduluza, Lucy Nyandoro
The Journal for Transdisciplinary Research in Southern Africa | Vol 20, No 1 | a1394 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/td.v20i1.1394 | © 2024 Mark Nyandoro, Takafira Mduluza, Lucy Nyandoro | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 19 July 2023 | Published: 09 May 2024

About the author(s)

Mark Nyandoro, Department of History Heritage and Knowledge Systems, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe; and School of Social Sciences, Faculty of Humanities, North-West University, Vanderbijlpark, South Africa
Takafira Mduluza, Laboratory for Immunology and Infection Research, Department of Biotechnology and Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe
Lucy Nyandoro, Independent Sociology and Social Science Research Expert – Women and Gender Studies, Harare, Zimbabwe


A global COVID-19 pandemic caused untold community disruptions, a huge toll on lives and placed major burdens on the economies of developing countries. It spread worldwide within a short period of time before nations could mobilise evidence for the best responses. Communities in Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe were heavily disrupted. This article focuses on exploring the transboundary differences in COVID-19 responses, plus the implications for improving the health communication strategies in a pandemic age. Health practitioners and governments were ill-prepared to inform the general public about the pandemic and enforced complete shutdowns of economic and social activities. With the COVID-19 pandemic ravaging communities, there was a dearth of focused health communication on COVID-19’s end. New tools of communication and dissemination of information were embraced in the southern Africa country-specific cases. For example, content on precautionary lifestyles, individual or personal responsibility and utilisation of community health workers in the pandemic era was prioritised to prevent or minimise infections and avoid recurrence of the disease. New communication methods were important for addressing uncertainty and can be applied for any future pandemic. This health communication topic addresses the neglected, but important gap on the efficacy of processes towards better health communication strategies. The transdisciplinary methods include improved health communication strategies informed by the experiences of three Southern African Development Community countries. While such measures to arrest COVID-19 proved plausible, these countries’ projections for the future are a concern, suggesting an urgent need to enhance and strengthen health communication in southern Africa.

Transdisciplinary contribution: This is a transdisciplinary exploration of health communication and its implications for COVID-19 and future pandemic responses in Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe.


Botswana; communities; COVID-19; efficacy; health communication; information packages; pandemic; South Africa; Zimbabwe.

JEL Codes

I12: Health Behavior

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 3: Good health and well-being


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