Introduction

To say that Papua New Guinea is multicultural, would be an understatement. It is home to about 7.8million people, speaking more than 800 indigenous languages and disbursed over 600 islands. For much of its history, the people who have inhabited the country’s mountains and valleys have lived in isolated settlements with minimal access to the amenities of modern life – including, in many places, health care.

In such a scenario,  PACIFIC INTERNATIONAL HOSPITAL, a private multispecialty hospital in Papua New Guinea providing tertiary healthcare, wanted to take a step forward for passionately creating awareness in such places globally.  Papua New Guinea, being a culturally diverse country, there is extreme lack of patient education and health awareness. This leads to about 49% of deaths on the basis of negligence and poor medical facilities. Papua New Guinea suffers from a critical shortage of human resources for health. The health workforce is characterized by several factors like:

  • An aging workforce
  • Falling numbers of midwives and community health workers
  • A demotivated workforce due to poor working conditions including low wages and poor physical infrastructure
  • Insufficient training capacity of the health workers, failing to meet population health needs.
  • 30% of skilled health professionals occupy administrative and management positions.

In PNG, with poor medical awareness and lack of health care system, there is a wide gap for treatments and surgeries, leading to untimely deaths. One such illness, across several developing countries is Cancer.  Cancer is the second leading cause of death globally, and is responsible for an estimated 9.6 million deaths in 2018 according to the World Health Organization. WHO statistical reports highlight that globally about 1 in 6 deaths occur due to cancer and approximately 70% of deaths from cancer occur in low- and middle-income countries like Papua New Guinea. Late-stage presentation and inaccessible diagnosis and treatment are common because of which many patients with cancer go undiagnosed. In 2017, only 26% of low-income countries reported having pathology services generally available in the public sector. The malignancy of cancer can be significantly reduced through early detection of cancer and management of patients who are in the initial stages. Several types of cancers can be treated before the metastasis, if diagnosed early and treated adequately.

Taking into consideration the above perspective, having to reach people on an emotional level was an arduous  task. To gain more support and reach an audience on a group zero level, PACIFIC INTERNATIONAL HOSPITAL approached Inscience Health.

The initiative

What InScience put forth?

With primary healthcare in mind, Inscience focused on 3 main ideal factors that would lead to more access to the targeted audience. The very first one was to know about the general / local aspect of the operation. Reaching the audience digitally was a bigger task than thought. Papua New Guinea is a developing country and having to deal with a traditional thinking approach is very sensitive as people might not like the modern health approaches. This initiative was run by Inscience health. Basically, to understand these people, thorough research was required. The second aspect of this was to understand the local infectious diseases. To strengthen any country’s healthcare system, a thorough background research on what are the native diseases and its transmission is most necessary. This was the most important factor Inscience had to take into consideration. The final aspect was to run the campaigns and advertise banners. Once the research was done, Inscience started prioritizing and putting forth the campaign to bring it to notice for the people of the state.

The challenge

Papua New Guinea being a culturally diverse country, there is extreme lack of patient education and health awareness. The maternal mortality with cervical cancer is the most frequent cancer among women. Furthermore, there is one doctor per 17,068 people portraying the extreme lack of healthcare services. Number of women coming for cancer screening is significantly low and there is a need to raise awareness among women on cancer screening. The most challenging aspect was to gain more sponsors to support the event and ask doctors and other people to refer children in need of such surgery. To convince the people of the states to welcome healthcare facilities to their homes and yet keep in touch with their traditional aspect  was an extremely challenging task.

Inscience stepped into shoes and put forth ideas that would help make the initiative successful. The initiative was pushed forward by two campaigns; one was “Operation of Hope (OOH)” and the second one being Globeathon – A Community health initiative for cancer awareness!

The Solution

As a marketing partner to Pacific International Hospital in Papua New Guinea, InScience executed the challenge in 3 different categories. The strategy included 3 different projects for three quarters i.e.

1. Globeathon – A Community health initiative for cancer awareness!

Globeathon, which was a community health initiative for cancer awareness, required a different approach for a country like Papua New Guinea. InScience created posts for Facebook that prominently displayed hospital services and facilities along with the importance of the event that was visually appealing and easy-to-read content for the PNG community. Furthermore, InScience created a strong social media presence and provided easy to access links for Facebook posts, educational blogs and online registrations. As promoting these types of events usually involves a great deal of planning, InScience with a team of expert content writers and Digital marketers, put in its efforts in building content, designing and print media by creating online connections, and established the organization in the social media sphere.

2. OOH- operation of Hope

Cleft lip and cleft palate are defects that occur when a baby’s lip or mouth do not form properly during pregnancy. As reported by the World Health Organization (WHO), the prevalence at birth of OFC varies worldwide, ranging 3.4–22.9 per 10,000 births for Cleft palate. Children affected with this suffer with problems that include feeding and speaking clearly and can have ear infections. Sometimes, they also might have hearing problems and problems with their teeth.

In order to reach more families where children suffer from an orofacial cleft, Operation Of Hope was launched by Pacific International Hospital.

Operation of hope (OOH)being a country-wide initiative, it was undertaken in order to conduct free cleft palate and lip surgery on underprivileged children in Papua New Guinea. InScience being a marketing partner for Pacific International Hospital, executed the challenge by giving a quick insight about the event during the 51st Annual Medical Symposium for the whole medical fraternity of Papua New Guinea by distributing the flyers and displaying standee. For reaching out to more people, strong social media presence was created through attention grabbing posts promoting the event

3. Cancer awareness

The cancer awareness was a bigger challenge than expected with the audience who have long been used to traditional medicine and approaches. They required a mixture of traditional and modern approach. InScience understood the perception of the people residing in Papua New Guinea. We undertook the challenge by creating informative posts on Facebook during the month of September which was creative and visually attractive to make the campaign a great success. We also made a strong social media presence for Pacific International Hospital by providing elaborated content posts as blogs for those who wanted more insight on cancer.

The ultimate achievement

What was the outcome?

The health care landscape in Papua New Guinea is informed by its topography and culture. Inscience didn’t want to change that. Hence, Inscience had to look into an approach that would let both have their parts in the lives of the people. The Globeathon event turned out to be a big success with more than 800 participants from the city and the participation increased by 60% compared to previous years. After the involvement of InScience this year for event promotion, Pacific International Hospital’s Facebook activity showed a dramatic increase of 24% likes with 96,184 reach. The event achieved very high page reach metrics and much more brand awareness and has been covered by National Television.

Operation Of Hope was a bigger success that InScience had put efforts into. After robust event promotion, the success was evidenced in the form of 85 registrations along with 31 surgeries. A huge support from the sponsors was also witnessed from contributors like Bougainville Copper Ltd, Rimnunan Hijua (RH), Airlines PNG, etc.

With changing trends in medical marketing, Pacific International Hospital wanted to promote themselves along with cancer awareness programs through social media to reach more people at their levels. The posts created on the social media front of Pacific International Hospital saw a hike in the number of likes and reach received by the page. Also, a record breaking increase of 167.6% in likes and 199.7% increase in the reach were recorded which was exceptionally higher than previous year activity.

With InScience, PACIFIC INTERNATIONAL HOSPITAL had an engagement boost that could help them reach a target audience at their level. Inscience actually showed PIH on how to reach an audience through different social media channels. A proper content plan was put into action at the right time that encouraged engagement from current and new followers.

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