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Public advertising around flu pandemic continues

1 January 2006 Media Statement

Public advertising around flu pandemic continues

A push to promote messages about how people can prepare for an influenza pandemic will be stepped up in the new year by the Ministry of Health, Health Minister Pete Hodgson said today.

Mr Hodgson said the advertising component of pandemic preparedness, which started in December 2005, will expand into public health messages on radio, including iwi and Pacific Island stations, from mid January 2006.

Another wave of advertising in print and on TV and radio is planned in February and March. The public awareness campaign builds on December's TV campaign, the 0800 number, the Ministry's website and local initiatives District Health Boards are undertaking.

"We know that there is a high level of awareness based on 0800 callers and the number of downloads from the Ministry of Health website. We don't have a pandemic influenza currently, but we all need to realise that some really simple things can help stop or slow the spread of influenza," Pete Hodgson said.

"The advertising will emphasise these everyday actions."

The messages are:
wash and dry your hands thoroughly with soap
cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and put it in a lined bin with a lid
have a basic emergency supplies kit in case you have to stay home sick, or look after someone who is sick.

"Essentially, these steps are good for people to take at any time, but especially when they've got a cold or influenza, so what we are doing is reminding people that the same rules apply." Pete Hodgson said.

ENDS

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