Tackling Polio With Health PR Campaign
Friday, 25 May 2012
This week the World Health Organisation warned that polio could “come back with a vengeance”, and action is urgently needed.
The disease, which is highly infectious, invades the nervous system and can cause total paralysis. Five to 10 per cent of people die when the paralysis affects their breathing muscles.
Earlier this year, Costa Rica launched a successful health PR campaign aimed at raising awareness of the deadly disease with the slogan ‘End Polio Now’. The integrated campaign included billboards, radio and media interviews.
This was a shrewd move by the South American country, and its highlight was an elaborate light show on the capitol building in San Juan, that drew a massive crowd.
Many might think that such a serious message shouldn’t be the focus of an action packed light show – but it grabbed people’s attention, communicated key messages and was memorable, which was the primary aim of the health PR campaign.
Attention is now turning to Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan, where the disease is endemic, with a focus on targeting every unvaccinated child.
An extensive health marketing campaign could be key to tackling this crippling disease, and a lot can be learned from Costa Rica.
That’s not to say bring out the light bulbs and get the show started as each country will have a different demographic and require a bespoke PR campaign.
However, health marketing campaigns have proven success and with a health time bomb as dangerous at this, urgent action – and a robust PR campaign – isn’t just an option, it’s essential.