Applicant: ‘Papardes zieds’ in cooperation with ‘Nords Porter Novelli’ Page 1
Category: Social campaign
Public awareness campaign on cervical cancer Choose Life!
Situation overview. Over the last ten years, the number of people diagnosed with cervical cancer (dzemdes kakla
vēzis) in Latvia had increased for 20%. In Latvia In 2005, every month 18 women were diagnosed with cervical
cancer, from which 10 women died. Although doctors claim that cervical cancer is a disease that can be cured, the
number of people diagnosed with cervical cancer and mortality rate in Latvia is 3 times higher than that in Europe.
Many professional associations explain the situation by lack of national screening (prevention) programme for
cervical cancer as well as weak public awareness. Majority of women do not know that cervical cancer is caused
by human papilloma virus (HPV) and possibilities to avert the development of cancer by means of frequent medical
Association ‘Papardes zieds’1 decided to come up with an initiative for social campaign and attracting attention to
the problem in 2006, inviting Nords Porter Novelli (NPN) to collaborate. This campaign was also supported by
other NGOs and medical associations: Women’s Centre Marta, Latvian Association of Gynaecologists and
Parturition Specialists, Latvian Association of Oncogynaelogists, Latvian Association of General Practitioners and
E. Gulbis Laboratory.
Objective. The objective of Choose Life! campaign are the following:
• to promote public awareness about cervical cancer, possibilities to prevent it through timely and regular
checks and consultation with doctors;
• to encourage women to respond, i.e. visit doctor for brief diagnostics.
When planning the campaign in summer of 2006, a survey of general practitioners and gynaecologists was
performed. The aim of the questionnaire was to define the level of knowledge among specialists about HPV and
find out when doctors were discussing HPV and cervical cancer issues with their patients. 93% gynaecologists
claimed to have discussed HPV issues with their patients but only when patients had complained about symptoms
and there was a suspicion of sickness. Gynaecologists also pointed out low interest of patients about HPV. This
survey was accompanied by focus group discussions with target group members to define their awareness of
cervical cancer and HPV and spot the main sources of healthy lifestyle and reproductive health information. None
of sample units covered by the survey had ever heard of HPV and diseases caused by it. Majority of women taking
part in survey claimed cervical cancer to be a “result of stress and psychological trauma”.
Target group. Primary target group: women (18-55), gynaecologists, general practitioners. Secondary target
group: mass media and general public.
1. To draw the attention of the general public to the high cervical cancer-caused mortality rate in Latvia.
2. To deepen the understanding of cervical cancer cause, HPV, and inform of possibilities to prevent the disease
by early medical check and analysis.
3. To encourage women to visit doctor and undergo a medical check.
- Cervical cancer can be cured. It is necessary to visit a doctor on regular basis and undergo required medical
checks! Choose life!
- Cervical cancer may be prevented by timely detection.
Means of communication:
- mass media;
- information dissemination;
- dedicated web-page;
- free phone line.
A leading family health NGO, literally - "the flower of the fern", a mythical object only "found" by
young couples during Midsummer Night celebrations
Applicant: ‘Papardes zieds’ in cooperation with ‘Nords Porter Novelli’ Page 2
Category: Social campaign
Communication methodology and approaches
1. Media relations (Oct-Dec, 2006) Objective – draw public attention to the problem and inform specialists about
the campaign. The opening press conference was attended by publicly and professionally acknowledged
specialists: S. Veide, President of the Latvian Association of General Practitioners; D. Matule, President of
Latvian Association of Gynaecologists; A. Rūrāne, Head of the Representation of the WHO in Latvia; M.
Zvaigznīte, Oncologist of Riga East Hospital. The main message conveyed during the press event was
(quote): ‘Cervical cancer is a disease that should not cause death, although each month it takes away the lives
of 10 Latvian women!’ Another press conference was organised in November to announce the social
campaign and encourage women attend doctors. Press conference created some spur among the mass
media. All publications and TV coverages, reflecting the press conference, revolved around the intended
message. Cooperation with women’s magazines continued after the press conference. These publications
included interviews and gynaecologists opinions on cervical cancer and stories revealed by the doctors.
Campaign consisted of more than 50 publications and TV, radio broadcasts that included coverages in main
TV news programmes.
2. Social media campaign. Cervical cancer awareness raising campaign extended to social campaign in mass
media (November, December). This campaign included broadcast of advertising clip in Latvian and Russian.
The key objective of the clip was to have emotional impact on society through key message: take care of
yourself, undergo regular health checks and make your choice, choose to live! This advertisement was also
shown in Forum Cinemas in Riga and Liepāja. Clip sought to encourage women to check routinely with their
gynaecologists to prevent emergence of cervical cancer. Similar advertising campaign took place in printed
media (mainly magazines).
3. Web-page www.dzkvezis.lv. The role of the web-page was to give target groups free access to
comprehensive information about cervical cancer and its prevention. Web-page address was communicated in
all campaign materials, including TV and press advertisement, and information leaflets.
4. Free phone line gave opportunity to ask questions about the cervical cancer to specialists.
5. HPV and cervical cancer information leaflets. Objective – explain women what HPV is and what diseases it
may cause. These leaflets were distributed through waiting rooms of general practitioners and gynaecologists.
According to target group survey, women were keen to read this information while waiting for a doctor to
receive them. Leaflets have also been distributed during various events organised by ‘Papardes zieds’.
Assessment criteria: 1. Target group response, i.e. number of visits to gynaecologist and general practitioner for
prevention reasons and number of cervical cancer tests; 2. Feedback from target audience seeking information on
cervical cancer while visiting a doctor.
1. Increased response of target groups, i.e. more visits to doctors to undergo tests for cervical cancer. The
survey of gynaecologists and general practitioners after the campaign showed that the number of women visiting
doctors as part of prevention measures has significantly increased. Moreover, there is a promising trend:
according to gynaecologists, the number of women who have not attended gynaecologist for a number of years
has been reduced. 53% of general practitioners and 88% of gynaecologists stated that in the past 3 months their
patients have been seeking information on cervical cancer compared to significantly lower numbers in the past.
Another important indicator is rise in HPV tests – after the campaign number of HPV tests in E.Gulbis
Laboratory, a special laboratory performing HPV tests, has tripled.
2. Survey of advertising campaign results shows that 27% (!) of women closely followed its recommendation to pay
greater attention to cervical cancer threat.
4. Number of visitors on www.dzkvezis.lv – during the campaign (November and December) the number of
unique visitors reached exceeded 6,000, which is an outstanding number for a social issue webpage.
5. The final results have not been established yet, since the campaign is continuing in 2007, however, as approved
by the leading health specialists, the campaign has exceeded its expectations – it has taken the first significant
steps to fight the cancer, and the disease has been well identified both by media and target audiences.
Applicant: ‘Papardes zieds’ in cooperation with ‘Nords Porter Novelli’ Page 3
Category: Social campaign