The week of 16-19 May 2016 was an important week for girls and women throughout the world with the hosting Women Deliver's 4th Global Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. It was also a milestone for our Motherhood Projects which incorporate the Alliance for Maternal Health Equality (AMHE), Safe Motherhood Week (SMW) and the Pregnancy and Medicine Initiative (PMI).
Creating awareness on pregnancy and medicine
Taking medicine while pregnant is an issue that touches everyone, not just those who suffer from a serious disease. Just consider all the women, their partners, doctors, family and friends who have wrestled with the decision whether or not to take medicine while pregnant or while seeking to become pregnant, even if not taking medicine could lead to unnecessary suffering and danger to the mother and her baby.
However, this issue has not had the attention it deserves. Medical research has made huge progress in understanding the impact of medicines on pregnant women, yet this information is not widely available. This is one of the reasons why we felt strongly about the Dark to Light campaign of the Pregnancy & Medicine Initiative (a Synergist project).
The campaign focused on pregnant women’s right to access appropriate medical care, make informed decisions, and benefit from the progress of science. It was a first step in enabling a shift in perception around the issue.
It featured a poll about pregnancy, treatment, and perceptions that had over 1,000 respondents (90% of whom had been pregnant); stories of real women and their pregnancies; a documentary about Caroline Swain who battled breast cancer while pregnant (getting 45 hours of video engagement); and an outlet for women and their doctors to share their stories.
As a result of the campaign, 208 hours was spent on the website, which received 16,213 visits. On social media, we increased our quality audience, made 326,150 Twitter impressions, and had a Facebook reach of 3,474,791. Most importantly, we were able to build relationships with key influencers.
The digital dimension of addressing an issue
Because this is a complex issue, there are many different groups working towards finding solutions, but they are not necessarily all going in the same direction. Some people might not even be aware they (or others) have expertise to add that can help make a difference between success and failure. The solution could even come from a completely different sector or industry.
We believe that digital media brings a unique opportunity in solving issues like this, and in creating a “win-win” for society and for businesses/organizations. It is an opportunity that has so far been underexplored. Digital media and social media are often considered primarily tools to search for information, to connect with people, and to broadcast information. But you could also use it to connect diverse people and organizations to cross-pollinate ideas, accelerate change, and find solutions to problems.
Our work continues and in the past year, we’ve identified and connected with individuals and organizations across America and Europe who are actively involved in the field of pregnancy and medicine.
We are building collaborations that include organizations like MotherToBaby, Motherisk, Mummy’s Star, and Spewing Mummy, to see how we can bring together the collective knowledge and expertise to move closer to tangible solutions. This could translate into specific projects like the creation or centralization of pregnancy and medicine databases, which would allow information to be more readily accessible and understandable.
As we move forward with the project, we hope our learnings can also benefit other issue-based projects.
Break Dengue was awarded “Most Impactful Emerging Initiative” at the eyeforpharma Barcelona Awards. Break Dengue was one of 29 entries in the category, and received the honours “following a unanimous vote by the panel of international industry experts and patient advocates”.