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Youth Focus for Meningococcal B Vaccination Promo

27 February 2006

Youth Focus for Meningococcal B Vaccination Promotion

Graduating graphic designer Sandi Black is Partnership Health Canterbury Te Kei o Te Waka’s secret weapon in their drive to increase meningococcal B vaccination rates. The primary health organisation (PHO) is using Sandi’s senior project as a launching pad for a major campaign aimed at improving immunisation uptake among 16-20 year olds.

Most students wait until they graduate to get a job, but Sandi’s compelling designs encouraging vaccination have given her a real-world work opportunity before she even receives her diploma.

The graphic design project was one of Sandi’s final requirements for a Bachelor of Design from CPIT. She got the idea from a documentary about Charlotte Cleverley-Bisman, who had all four limbs amputated at the age of six months due to meningococcal meningitis. While Baby Charlotte’s story gave the issue of meningococcal B immunisation plenty of exposure, Sandi knew that her peers did not have a sense of urgency about being vaccinated.

“Healthcare runs in the family,” Sandi explains. “My mother is a Plunket health worker, one of my sisters is a nurse and the other is a speech therapist. So I have a heightened awareness of medical issues, and I wanted to explore different ways of making this topic important for my friends.”

For her student project, Sandi created coasters and a poster targeting 18-20 year olds, completely unaware that Partnership Health Canterbury Te Kei o Te Waka was looking for the best way to reach people in that age group.

While Canterbury’s meningococcal B immunisation programme has achieved an 83% success rate in the under-five demographic, only 51% of 18-19 year olds have initiated their first MeNZB vaccination, with even fewer completing the full course.

Michael O’Dea, Project Manager for Partnership Health Canterbury, came across Sandi’s display at a chance visit to Ignition 05, which showcases work by graduating CPIT design students.

O’Dea immediately realised the potential of Sandi’s work, and seized the opportunity to create a full-fledged campaign out of it. “We were lucky to find Sandi,” he says. “Her designs have a unique appeal for her peers, and because she’s a member of our targeted demographic, she helps us understand where they congregate, what motivates them, and what they need to hear.”

Over the next two months, street and retail posters will combine with a radio campaign to raise awareness about MeNZB. The message includes a call to action to visit for a chance to win a share of $10,000 in prizes, irrespective of immunisation status or intent.

While anyone aged 16-19 can register, even if they have had all of their MeNZB vaccinations, registering on the website serves as consent to receive texts encouraging participants to complete their full vaccination course. The Edge radio station and Vodafone have signed on as key sponsors, with numerous other companies providing prizes and promotional space for posters.

Sandi speaks highly of her first professional experience. “I really appreciated how much creative input Partnership Health Canterbury allowed me on this campaign. Their open-mindedness led to a better end result.”

“Sandi has been a pleasure to work with,” says O’Dea. “She’s tremendously enthusiastic, and has given us a lot of insight into the behaviour of her peer group. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend her or work with her again.” If he wants to find her, he can call TKO, the Christchurch advertising agency, where Sandi will shortly begin full-time employment.


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