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Feel bad? It’s Not Always So Sad!

Baltic PR Awards 2012
Organization: PR Stils
Client: Ministry of Health of the Republic of Latvia
Country: Latvia
Project name: Feel bad? It’s Not Always So Sad!

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Feel bad? It’s Not Always So Sad!

  1. 1. Category: PUBLIC SECTOR & NGOs PR Stils (Latvia) “Feel bad? It’s Not Always So Sad!” Ministry of Health of Latvia Republic Summary The challenge for this campaign was to reduce the number of so-called secondary calls to Latvia’s State Emergency Medical Aid (EMA) service (calls related to issues which do not pose any dangers to human health or life). The aim was to inform people about emergency calling, as the 24-hour telephone line that is meant to save human lives, was constantly also advising them that medical advice can be received from family physicians or from other areas of the state’s health care system when the illness is not sufficient to summon emergency aid. The campaign was based on numerous visuals and an extensive communications network. The central element was a set of nine two-sided stands to display the most regularly encountered secondary emergency situations. These were exhibited in public locations, as well as on the Internet. Third parties such as patient NGOs and medical associations were brought in to distribute labels and information cards in the format of business cards. Media relations involved a news conference with the participation of the health minister. Journalists were invited to tour the EMA service calling centre, and publicity was prolonged during the campaign by a series of interviews in the regional media. The main criterion in determining the reach of the campaign was the change in the dynamics of emergency calls – fewer calls to the EMA service and greater numbers of calls to the Family Physician Consultation Service. Situation Latvia’s Emergency Medical Aid service number receives more than 2000 calls a day, and on average, emergency teams are sent out in response to 1200 calls a day. However, EMA data show that in a many of the cases, emergency teams are sent out when there is no true danger to human health or life (so-called “secondary calls”). This situation was dangerous, as too many secondary calls can prevent timely response to actual life and death situations. It was also alarming that percentage of secondary calls had been increasing in recent years. Data showed that in many of the situations people called emergency services instead of approaching their family doctor, since nearly 70% of the secondary calls occured outside of the working hours of family physicians. Objectives The main objectives of the public awareness campaign were to:• Reduce the number of so-called secondary calls to the Emergency Medical Aid (EMA) service• Reduce the number of visits which EMA technicians must make in cases where outpatient care would be preferable• Inform about alternative medical care options provided by the state and in particular the Family Physician Consultation Service, which provides free medical consultations.• Ensure the consultation phone number 66016001 was widely promoted, as to be remembered when a need arises.• Demonstrate the everyday duties and responsibilities of the EMA service to raise awareness about the serious nature of their work. Strategy The strategy focused on two main tactical objectives -1) Raise awareness about the daily work of the Emergency Medical Aid team,2) Coordinate a wide information campaign about the free medical consultation service. The objective to raise awareness about the issue was supported by intensive media relations - a news conference featuring the minister, online streaming of the news conference, initiation of regional articles and TV spots. From the beginning, the campaign was held in close cooperation with NGOs and professional associations in the field. Baltic PR Awards 2012
  2. 2. Category: PUBLIC SECTOR & NGOsThe objective of informing a large audience was executed by using a wide information campaign by creating TVand radio ads, outdoor and public transport advertisements, social media. Public attention was attracted by theusage of easy language, colourful comic-type drawings, celebrities, and the rhyming slogan “Feel Bad? It’s NotAlways so Sad!”The centre for the campaign was the exhibition “One Day at the Emergency Service” showing the most commonhealth issues like fever or headaches and offered alternative medical solutions.ExecutionThe campaign was launched with a press conference with participation of the Minister of Health and theconference was streamed online. It was followed by an extensive media relations and social media campaign,including a media visit to the Emergency Medical Aid Service to see their daily work firsthand.A simple and straightforward visual identity was created to be used in all the campaign materials,TV and radio clips. City public transport providers and one of the largest outdoors company agreed to support thesocial campaign by providing free advertising opportunities in public buses and in the streets of Riga.The centre for the campaign was the traveling exhibition “One Day at the Emergency Service” showing the mostcommon health issues like fever or headaches and offered alternative medical solutions. The exhibition involvedwell-known celebrities, who shared their experiences. The exhibition was accompanied by specialists that offeredmedical consultations on the spot.20 000 infocards with the free consultation service phone number were distributed in cooperation with NGOs andmedical organizations.Documented ResultsOver the course of two months, the number of emergency calls decreased by 50 to 100 calls per day, while thenumber of calls to the consultation line of family physicians increased by 50 to 100 calls on workdays and by 100to 200 calls during the weekend.During one month there were 140 publications nationwide, including 26 radio and 16 TV spots to discuss the topic.The news conference was broadcast on the national news portal Diena.lv, and as of January 31, 2012, it hadattracted 3800 views. The campaign video was also distributed via the social network profiles of patient NGOs.Two survey questions were posted on the social network Draugiem.lv, and this attracted an audience of 86 000.20 000 infocards were distributed during the campaign. Baltic PR Awards 2012