Every year the trauma of Cambodia’s past fades further into memory, as the country is redefined by economic development, a growing middle class and a shift towards urban living. However, this progress brings new challenges, especially for women, with non-communicable diseases (NCD) like hypertension, type 2 diabetes and cancer showing up among the female population in disproportionate numbers each year.
To combat this concerning trend, a new social behaviour change (SBC) campaign has been developed to educate and motivate women to take their health into their own hands. Importantly, Bloom brings together key stakeholders in government, civil society and the healthcare sector to provide important information about the risks these conditions pose and specific actions women and families can take to live healthier lives.
“Reducing the burden of NCDs is a key priority of the Royal Government of Cambodia,” explained Dr. Kol Hero, director of the Preventative Medical Department for the Ministry of Health. “This campaign contributes to the fight against hypertension and type 2 diabetes, which is not only a health challenge but also a development challenge.”
Jim Maister kicked off the campaign launch, held September 21st at Phnom Penh’s Raintree event space. As chief of party for Preventative Health Behaviours (PHB), the USAID funded wing of PSI, Maister highlighted the dire consequences that arise when personal health is neglected. In 2018, 64% of all deaths in Cambodia – some 60,000 people – were due to NCDs and it is estimated that one in four Cambodians die prematurely, before the age of 70.
Reducing the burden of NCDs is a key priority of the Royal Government of Cambodia”Dr. Kol Hero, director of the Preventative Medical Department, Ministry of Health
Joined by Dr. Kol Hero and Dr. John Eyres, director of USAID’s Office of Public Health and Education, Bloom’s “Priority Behaviours” were laid out for the audience. With strategies developed through primary research and surveys conducted by PSI and research firm 17 Triggers, limiting salt intake, opting for healthier cooking methods and eating more fruits and vegetables are key messages. Motivating people to exercise throughout the week and conduct regular health screenings for hypertension, type 2 diabetes and cancer round out these priority activities.
Motivating women to embrace personal agency and take control of their health is at the heart of the campaign. Given the primary role that women play in setting the precedent for family behaviours, Bloom is targeting women between the ages of 30-44 in the urban and peri-urban areas of Phnom Penh, Battambang and Kampong Cham with the goal of empowering women to be the catalyst for broader changes.
Charged with designing, branding, and activating the campaign, Phnom Penh’s Brains Communication brought its creative vision and established track record as a 360 digital marketing firm to develop a comprehensive outreach strategy. Through ongoing and in depth collaboration with PSI and other key stakeholders, a coordinated approach was developed with social media taking centre stage.
With the tagline “Live wise, Healthy life,” social media posts and behavioural nudges will play a key role in shifting attitudes and changing habits. Videos depicting the benefits associated with lifestyle changes alongside messages from Cambodia’s most recognised online influencers will drive engagement and paint a picture of how living a healthy life not only helps women, but entire families.
Cambodia’s progress over the past 30 years is impressive, however, achievements lead to new challenges and cooperation is essential in the face of these obstacles. Rolling out in the coming weeks, Bloom will be found on social media and smartphones around the Kingdom, a unified effort across government and civil society that can empower women, help families, and change lives.