International Awareness Day

Do International Awareness Days Make A Difference?

This week the world is celebrating international breastfeeding week one of many international awareness days celebrated throughout the year in the health industry. Days are set aside for different cancers, ailments, chronic and communicable diseases. Throughout the year people undertake different activities to try and raise awareness around the cause that the day has been dedicated to. Health workers are also celebrated and recognised for their hard work serving the human race. While many of these international awareness days are set by the World Health Organisation, the United Nations also sets some the days like World Autism Awareness Day.

Over the years different activities to commemorate these days have been planned and executed and up to this day, one wonders if the efforts placed in the campaigns are enough to help people manage and raise awareness of these diseases. Deep in rural Africa, on weeks like this, the breastfeeding week, community and village health workers would formulate jingles encouraging breastfeeding before people were attended to at local clinics. These jingles are still imbedded in the people that were made to listen to them’s minds upto this day. A few weeks ago on social media a lady was singing the jingle that she said she was made to sing back in the early 90s about breast feeding.

Social media has helped us spread the message we are supposed to spread to others on international awareness days on a broader spectrum, however not everone has access to social media. More effort is needed in reaching other communities that have no access to technology. However making jingles, posting about it on social media and forgetting about it till next year is not enough. More effort is needed in teaching people about how to manage these conditions, prevent them and to tell others about them. The campaigns we are doing need to be multi-tiered. They need to reach everyone, in all spheres this will need to include messages to be printed in different languages on media that can reach everyone. Community health stations also need to be the epicenters of spreading these awareness messages so that they reach everyone.

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