#GlobalHealth on Twitter: Analysis of Tweets on #Malaria, #HIV, #TB, #NCDS, and #NTDS

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Social media enables users to connect globally and engage in conversations on global health issues. Global health advocates use the hashtag #GlobalHealth on Twitter to draw users’ attention to prominent themes on global health, to harness their support, and to advocate for change. Through analyzing five subcorpora within a #GlobalHealth Twitter corpus, we aim to summarize the Twitter global health conversations pertinent to 5 high burden diseases or groups of diseases into 4 major themes. Tweets containing the hashtag #GlobalHealth (n=157,951) from January 1, 2014, to April 30, 2015 were purchased from GNIP Inc. We extracted 5 sub-corpora of tweets, each with one of the top 5 co-occurring disease-specific hashtags (#Malaria, #HIV, #TB, #NCDS, and #NTDS) for further analysis. Unsupervised machine learning (Latent Dirichlet Allocation) was applied to each sub-corpus to categorize the tweets by their underlying topics and obtain the representative tweets of each topic. The topics were grouped into 4 themes (advocacy; epidemiological information; prevention, control and treatment; societal impact) and miscellaneous. In the entire #GlobalHealth corpus (N=157,951), there were 40,266 unique users, 85,168 retweets, and 13,107 unique co-occurring hashtags. Of the 13087 tweets across the 5 subcorpora with co-occurring hashtag #malaria (n=3640), #HIV (n=3557), #NCDS (n=2373), #TB (n=1781) and #NTDS (n=1736), the most prevalent theme was prevention, control and treatment (4339, 33.16%), followed by advocacy (3706, 28.32%), epidemiological information (1803, 13.78%), and societal impact (1617, 12.36%). The rest were miscellaneous (1622, 12.39%). This study highlighted the specific #GlobalHealth Twitter conversation pertinent to malaria, HIV, tuberculosis, non-communicable diseases, and neglected tropical diseases. These conversations reflect the priorities of advocates, funders, policy-makers and practitioners of global health on these high burden diseases as they presented their views and information on Twitter to their followers.


American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene Annual Meeting (ASTMH)


Baltimore, MD