Activism message, showing children and adults alike taking a selfie, is also a clever marketing campaign by city’s healthcare provider.
Toronto’s healthcare provider TCHC is fighting the spread of measles by telling the story of a clever selfie.
In a video entitled “Measles In The City”, published by the Toronto Star on 18 November, TCHC shows children and adults alike from their cellphone cameras taking selfies. In one scene, a young boy is seen with a toy bow on his head, while others have a smile on their faces or their arms around friends.
“This measles campaign shows how it is possible to build empathy and compassion across many lines, including on the line between community and patients,” said Andrea Zuntag, the executive director of TCHC.
“It also highlights the fact that Measles is truly a disease of the past and is highly preventable if caught early and promptly,” she added.
A report from the WHO shows 1.2 million measles cases worldwide in 2018, with 1.1 million cases in north-eastern India alone. In north-eastern India, measles is linked to sandalwood cultivation, an extensive trade industry that relies on local indigenous communities.
The global conversation on infectious diseases has slowed with the success of some vaccines, and successful treatment or elimination efforts in parts of the world. For measles in particular, the number of cases has dropped from the five million reported in 2000 to just above 500 in 2017.
But high rates of unvaccinated children make this rate unlikely to go down until people understand the importance of vaccinations. As a result, the WHO recommends all children receive the two doses of the vaccine in childhood, with a six-month break between doses.
It’s important to note that, however, if a parent does not vaccinate their child due to a personal or moral objection, their refusal has serious public health consequences: 90% of unvaccinated children will contract measles or rubella in adulthood and 80% will die from it.
Despite the success of vaccines over many years, many people still refuse them, turning health services into a no-go area.
Most Canadians agree that, according to a recent Canadian Health Policy survey, 90% of Canadians believe that Measles is a dangerous disease and that vaccination is the best way to prevent this disease, but only 24% believe that the measles vaccine should be available to parents without a personal or moral objection.
Zuntag said, “We also know that community approach to spreading information about disease is key to changing behaviours – even though it can be challenging.”
“People need to know about the dangers of measles, and how vaccination is key to stopping its spread, and ensuring that children can grow up healthy, safe and happy,” she added.