Sickle Cell Disease Stories on YouTube: A Comparison of Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, and Kenya

  • Elijah O. Onsomu, PhD Winston-Salem State University
  • DaKysha Moore, PhD North Carolina A&T State University
  • Sydney Yorke North Carolina A&T State University
Keywords: Africa, DISCERN, Global Quality Score, Sickle Cell Disease, YouTube Videos
Share Article:


Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a group of blood disorders common across Sub-Saharan Africa. Countries such as Nigeria and Ghana have a high prevalence of the inherited condition, which causes, for most patients, severe pain during a crisis and can lead to serious complications, such as anaemia and stroke. This study examines messaging about SCD in Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, and Uganda posted on YouTube. It used DISCERN and Global Quality Score instruments to analyse a total of 58 videos from the four countries. Most were from news organizations. The most common DISCERN and Global Quality Score was a 3, which means the basic background information provided was not extensive but still useful. There was an association between the type of message and video uploader (Fisher's exact, p = 0.0001). However, no significant associations were found between the type of message and country (Fisher's exact, p = 0.219), using overall DISCERN and video uploader (Fisher's exact, p = 0.485), or using global quality score and video uploader (Fisher's exact, p = 0.818). The videos analysed not only gave the public some medical information but also addressed some of the social issues associated with SCD and helped to increase public awareness of the disease


Download data is not yet available.


African Health Organization. (2020). African sickle cell week. cell- week/#:~:text=Africa%20Sickle%20Cell%20Week%20is,raise%20awareness%20of%20blood%20diseases

Ajilore, K., Morka, E. O., & Onyenankeyab, K. (2019). Rethinking the sickle cell awareness campaign in West Africa: Evidence from Nigeria. African Renaissance, 16(1), 167–185.

Andan, C., & Aydin, M. F. (2022). Evaluation of the reliability and quality of YouTube videos on ovarian cysts. Cureus, 14(3), e22739.

Appiah, S., Korsah, K. A., AmpongAdjei, C., & Appiah, O. E. (2020). Genetic counselling in sickle cell disease: Views of single young adults in Ghana. Journal of Community Genetics, 11(4), 485–493.

Batur, A. F., Altintas, E., & Gül, M. (2022). Evaluation of YouTube videos on primary bladder pain syndrome. International Urogynecology Journal, 33(5), 1251–1258.

Bernard, A., Langille, M., Hughes, S., Rose, C., Leddin, D., & Van Zanten, S. V. (2007). A systematic review of patient inflammatory bowel disease information resources on the World Wide Web. American Journal of Gastroenterology, 102(9), 2070-2077.

Birch, E. M., Leziak, K., Jackson, J., Dahl, E., Niznik, C. M., & Yee, L. M. (2022). Content quality of YouTube videos about gestational diabetes: Systematic evaluation. JMIR Diabetes, 7(2), e30156.

Calisir, A., & Ece, I. (2022). Assessment of the quality and reliability of intragastric balloon videos on YouTube. Obesity Surgery, 32(4), 1157–1163.

Cakmak, G., & Mantoglu, B. (2021). Reliability and quality of YouTube contents pertaining to pancreatic cancer. Cureus, 13(3), e14085.

Ceci, L. (2023, May 11). YouTube penetration in selected countries and territories as of April 2023.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, August 18). What is sickle cell disease?

Charnock, D., Shepperd, S., Needham, G., & Gann, R. (1999). DISCERN: An instrument for judging the quality of written consumer health information on treatment choices. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 53(2), 105–111.

Chen, H-M., Hu, Z-K., Zheng, X-L., Yuan, Z-S., Xu, Z-B., Yuan, L-Q., De Jesus Perez, V., Yuan, K., Orcholski, M., & Liao, X-B. (2013). Effectiveness of YouTube as a source of medical information on heart transplantation. Interactive Journal of Medical Research, 2(2), e28.

Dexter, D., & McGann, P. T. (2023). Hydroxyurea for children with sickle cell disease in sub-Saharan Africa: A summary of the evidence, opportunities, and challenges. Pharmacotherapy, 43(5), 430–441.

Discern online. (n.d.). Background.

Donchev, D. (2023, April 23). 40 mind blowing YouTube facts, figures and statistics – 2023.

Esoh, K., Wonkam-Tingang, E., & Wonkam, A. (2021). Sickle cell disease in sub-Saharan Africa: Transferable strategies for prevention and care. The Lancet Haematology, 8(10), e744–e755.

Leong, A. Y., Sanghera, R., Jhajj, J., Desai, N., Jammu, B. S., & Makowsky, M. J. (2018). Is YouTube useful as a source of health information for adults with type 2 diabetes? A South Asian perspective. Canadian Journal of Diabetes, 42(4), 395–403.e4.

Madathil, K. C., Rivera-Rodriguez, A. J., Greenstein, J. S., & Gramopadhye, A. K. (2015). Healthcare information on YouTube: A systematic review. Health Informatics Journal, 21(3), 173–194.

Melchionna, A., Collà Ruvolo, C., Capece, M., La Rocca, R., Celentano, G., Califano, G., Creta, M., Napolitano, L., Morra, S., Cilio, S., Turco, C., Caputo, V., Longo, N., Mirone, V., & Imbimbo, C. (2023). Testicular pain and YouTubeTM: Are uploaded videos a reliable source to get information? International Journal of Impotence Research, 35(2), 140–146.

Mert, A., & Bozgeyik, B. (2021). Quality and content analysis of carpal tunnel videos on YouTube. Indian Journal of Orthopaedics, 56(1), 73–78.

Ohene-Frimpong, K., Bonney, A., Tetteh, H., & Nkrumah, F. K. (2005). 270 newborn screening for sickle cell disease in Ghana. Pediatric Research, 58(2), 401.

Om, A., Mathew, N., & Nawaz, A. (2021). Quality and reliability of YouTube videos on sickle cell disease. Journal of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, 43(8), e1247–e1248.

Ozsoy-Unubol, T., & Alanbay-Yagci, E. (2021). YouTube as a source of information on fibromyalgia. International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases, 24(2), 197–202.

Sims, A. M., Bonsu, K. O., Urbonya, R., Farooq, F., Tavernier, F., Yamamoto, M., VanOmen, S., Halford, B., Gorodinsky, P., Issaka, R., Kpadenou, T., Douglas, R., Wilson, S., Fu, C., Canter, D., Martin, D., Novarra, A., Graham, L., Sey, F., … Campbell, A. (2021). Diagnosis patterns of sickle cell disease in Ghana: A secondary analysis. BMC Public Health, 21(1), 1719.

Slick, N., Bodas, P., Badawy, S. M., & Wildman, B. (2023). Accuracy of online medical information: The case of social media in sickle cell disease. Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, 40(2), 99–107.

StataCorp. (2021). Stata statistical software: Release 17. StataCorp LLC.

Tegna, G., Topazian, H. M., Kamthunzi, P., Howard, T., Tembo, Z., Mvalo, T., Chome, N., Kumwenda, W., Mkochi, T., Hernandez, A., Ataga, K. I., Hoffman, I. F., & Ware, R. E. (2021). Prospective newborn screening for sickle cell disease and other inherited blood disorders in Central Malawi. International Journal of Public Health, 66, 629338.

World Atlas. (2017, April 25). Highest numbers of sickle cell births by country.

World Health Organization. (2022, August 23). African health ministers launch drive to curb sickle cell disease toll.

Zhou, A. E., & Travassos, M. A. (2022). Bringing sickle-cell treatments to children in sub-Saharan Africa. The New England Journal of Medicine, 387(6), 488–491.

15 August, 2023
How to Cite
Onsomu, E., Moore, D., & Yorke, S. (2023). Sickle Cell Disease Stories on YouTube: A Comparison of Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, and Kenya. East African Journal of Health and Science, 6(1), 327-334.

Most read articles by the same author(s)