United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in collaboration with Comprehensive Community Based Rehabilitation in Tanzania (CCBRT) launched ‘Transport my patient’ campaign in Tanzania to save fistula patients suffering from lack of medical treatment. Diato Akoth’s presentation on digital communication in relation to the campaign raised my awareness on this campaign. Transport my patient’s main objective is outreach activities, awareness creation, health education, screening, treatment, and referrals. The doctor to patient ratio in Tanzania is around 1:25000 and nurses to patients 1:23000 and this made UNFPA transport the patients to some other locations for the purpose of having fistula treatment.
I noted from Diato’s presentation that the use of digital communication tools was restricted for this campaign but this is not a huge surprise because the use of internet is not widespread in Tanzania. UNFPA primarily utilized mobile technology, television commercials, radio and printed media for the campaign. I believe it is because of the limitation that few details were found on Transport my patients campaign in the social media pages. The campaign did not fail because of the limited use of digital communication tools but I presume a higher rate of success would have been recorded and more global awareness created if the campaign had access to digital media like online video, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube channel. Mobile technology is very popular in Tanzania and Television is widely used so using both platforms to reach target audience helped UNFPA impact the public. On its website, UNFPA and CCBRT displayed success stories and pictures of VVF patients and also reported a steady increase in number of surgeries after launch of Transport my patients campaign.
I realize the use of varied digital communication tools to propagate any campaign provides the opportunity to reach more people across the globe, raise awareness and support, and also provide feedback , I have also learnt that the choice of communication tools is dependent on factors such as target audience,available infrastructure, geographic location and education. If UNFPA had chosen digital communication tools with wider reach and coverage without a consideration of available infrastructure in Tanzania, the main target audience, the rural populace women suffering from VVF would have remained unreached. What works,where and why is a question I will answer and also ask anyone to consider when we plan digital communication.
Center for Health Market Innovations. (2016). Transport My Patient by CCBRT. Retrieved from http://healthmarketinnovations.org/program/transport-my-patient-ccbrt on February 16, 2016.
Diato Akoth. (2016). Presentation on Digital communication tools of UNFPA Transport my Patient Campaign.
UNFPA. (2011). Using Mobile Phones to Tackle Fistula in Tanzania. Retrieved from http://www.unfpa.org/news/using-mobile-phones-tackle-fistula-tanzania on February 16, 2016.