NHS picks Media Strategy for sickle cell campaign

The NHS is to launch a PR blitz to promote its sickle cell and thalassaemia screening programme.

Media Strategy has been appointed to handle a campaign to boost awareness of sickle cell anaemia – an inherited blood disease that can potentially lead to death, most common in African and Caribbean descendents.

Media Strategy won a five-way pitch to handle the campaign with a reported budget of around £200,000.

NHS programme implementation manager Dr Sandra Anglin said Media Strategy – where managing director Charles Lewington leads the account team – will target audiences including community leaders to help spread the message in ‘communities at the highest risk’.

Afro-Caribbean communities in cities such as London and Birmingham will be targeted via ethnic minority media in the campaign’s initial stages.

Approximately 200 to 300 babies a year are born with sickle cell disorders in the UK. Thalassaemia affects around 20 babies per year in England.

Anglin said the campaign would also target healthcare professionals in the ‘care pathway’, such as GPs, nurses and midwives.

In addition to media relations work targeting ethnic media, Media Strategy will also target national mainstream media.

More than 20 agencies contacted the NHS with the aim of bidding for the contract, which was put up for tender last September (PRWeek, 11 September 2003).

Media Strategy has landed an initial two-year deal for the campaign.

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