A Cross-sectional Analysis of Facebook Comments to Study Public Perception of the Mass Drug Administration Program in the Philippines.Int J Health Policy Manag. 2020 Apr 22 [Online ahead of print]IJ
Mass Drug Administration (MDA) of albendazole is being implemented in the Philippines to eliminate soil-transmitted helminthiasis (STH) among school-age children (SAC). The first round of MDA for the school year 2019-2020 was suspended in the province of Surigao del Norte due to a reported death of a student after deworming. It was broadcasted on a national television and the story was then posted on Facebook. We used structured and simple nature of social media research to study public perception of the MDA program after the controversial issue in the Philippines. The news story was assessed, and the Facebook comments were analyzed. A large portion of the Facebook comments expressed a declining trust of the Filipinos toward MDA. The negative impact could be attributed to the public-initiated discussion and sharing of comments with no solid evidence in Facebook. This study showed a possible threat to the successful implementation of the program if not properly managed. The Department of Health (DOH) should be able to cope with the developing landscape of public perception during the era of social media.