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Your new goal for communications – social impact

By Chris Bath

Chris Bath

Take a minute to think about this next sentence. Can you say with absolute certainty that you ‘ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages’? You obviously hope so. It’d be immoral to say any different. But sadly, the evidence points to no.

The sentence in question is the third of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) from the United Nations, which were announced in 2015. This third goal (of which there are 17 in total) focuses solely on good health and well-being and, to put bluntly, ambition is not being met with action to ensure ‘no one is left behind’.

The statistics make for stark reading.

The pandemic has halted progress in health and shortened life expectancy, with reproductive, maternal and child health targets now reversed. A lack of health workers, a lack of data,and a lack of investment in universal health coverage are some of the reasons being cited for this damaging lack of progress. It would be easy to blame the pandemic. But in truth, the news that we’re not on track is not a surprise. It is the pandemic that has magnified the issues the SDGs were put in place to prevent.

The net effect of doing nothing, is nothing
Now is the time to act. There has never been a greater awareness of these issues, nor have they been so prominent on agendas the world over. But, let’s be frank, anyone reading this doesn’t have a problem with accessing healthcare. This isn’t our problem, but it is our problem to fix.

With this focus then, where can we as communicators not just add value, but create value, for everyone who is missing out on good health and well-being?

  1. Set social impact as a goal. We are all human and we are all driven to make a difference. Our work reflects that. From disease awareness campaigns to patient engagement programmes, we seek to reduce harm and improve the lives of many. But social impact, the effect on people and communities as a result of an action OR inaction of an activity, project, programme or policy, should guide our decision-making when planning programmes of work. We need to ask ourselves: what if we did nothing for this group of people? It might help us reprioritise our actions and goals.
  2. Dispel disinformation with your communications ‘sweet spot’. Echo chambers are harmful. We know that. News is becoming ‘crisis’-based so it’s becoming uncomfortably easy for significant issues to be lost when the media agenda is so focused on ‘crises’ and panic. Our role is to champion the good that is being done to help close the gap to the SDGs, particularly the successes we’re all part of, and where there is something good to share, help to encourage wider adoption. Trust is the tonic to disinformation and access to information is vital, so too then is our job as communicators.
  3. Applying a DE&I lens to campaigns. We need to constantly challenge ourselves and step out of our ivory towers to ensure that the campaigns we are executing are reaching the people that need it most across ethnic, cultural, societal and geographical communities. It’s no longer good enough to encourage more people to see a doctor when the very communities of people that need to do so are being ignored, or are simply unable to do so.

What does this mean for our work? We need to do better at aiming to leave no one behind in healthcare, aim to be better at applying an ED&I lens to everything we do and communicate, and think about the people who need the services and treatments the most.

The challenges we face are at every level, from local to regional to global, so the ability to share new best practices and insights and, crucially, involve the very people we are trying to help are all principles that will start to form the new paradigm of communications campaigns in healthcare.

It also gives us a far more interesting challenge in measuring the social impact of our campaigns beyond the immediate and more traditional communications metrics to look at how and where barriers are being broken down to improve access to healthcare for everyone.

It's not about us, it’s about the legacy.

Chris Bath is Managing Director at Aurora

Chris Bath is Managing Director at Aurora

20th June 2022

From: Marketing


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