Collaboration is the Key

By Dr.Vivek Shanmugam

Chennai Liver Foundation (CLF), located in Chennai, India, is a voluntary, non-profit organisation which aims to promote awareness about liver health by supporting research and educational activities. It offers help, support and information to the medical fraternity and the general public about diagnosis, prevention and treatment of liver related diseases.

The campaign

 For World Hepatitis Day (WHD), CLF celebrated with a whole month of activities. The aim of the activities was to create awareness around hepatitis and encourage testing and treatment. They also wanted their activities to reach policy makers in order to not only educate them, but to also motivate them to make changes to make testing and treatment accessible and affordable.

The activities held included:

  • A walkathon
  • A write-up on a popular daily newspaper (Times of India)

CLF had a breakthrough meeting with the president of Rotary International, Jennifer Jones. She helped launch a massive hepatitis vaccination drive. The CEO of World Hepatitis Alliance (WHA) joined the meeting virtually with a pre-recorded message and gave his well wishes for the rest of the meeting. CLF addressed the importance of hepatitis elimination, which captivated Jennifer. She pledged to take this movement forward and promised that Rotary would do all it could to help eliminate hepatitis.

Achievements

  • 1,300 people reached in one month via 12 screening and vaccination camps in various locations
  • Up to 4000 leaflets distributed in 3 hours during a massive walkathon on a popular beach. Members dressed up in NOhep t-shirts
  • A quarter page write up about viral hepatitis in a popular daily newspaper, Times of India (TOI). TOI has a daily distribution of 400,000.

Key messages

  1. Knowledge is power
  2. Collaboration is key
  3. Use social media effectively

Lessons learned

  • Collaboration with multiple social organisations makes a difference. Joining hands with global organisations helped to increase the scope of our activities

Challenges

  • Holding public events is always a challenge for law enforcement agencies. Proper planning and prior permission is required