Analyzing the reach of public health campaigns based on multidimensional aspects: the case of the syphilis epidemic in Brazil

Rafael de Morais Pinto, Ricardo Alexsandro de Medeiros Valentim, Lyrene Fernandes da Silva, Thaísa Góis Farias de Moura Santos Lima, Vivekanandan Kumar, Carlos Alberto Pereira de Oliveira, Cristine Martins Gomes de Gusmão, Jailton Carlos de Paiva, Ion de Andrade

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Public health campaigns aim to promote awareness, increase knowledge, and encourage a target population to adopt desirable attitudes and behaviors. Assessing their reach from a multidimensional perspective through information technology can facilitate the development of more effective campaigns in public health response. Methods: We scrutinized seven data sources from different perspectives to assess a health campaign launched in Brazil named “Syphilis No!”. This campaign is part of an Agenda for strategic actions to reduce syphilis in Brazil which includes dissemination of educommunication materials to remind people of the importance of syphilis prevention, emphasizing “test, treat and cure” concept. We developed a multidimensional analysis framework and implemented an information system to process the data from a time series perspective, and assessed the effects over time, both before and after the campaign. We descriptively analyzed data related to the campaign, including e-news, search engine activity, online courses, serological tests, medication distribution and case notification rates. Findings: Regarding search engine activity, we observed the highest volume of search during the first week of campaigns in 2018 (between November 25th and December 7th). Nevertheless, analyzing this data in a trend plot revealed sustained growth until the end of 2019. From March 2018, the amount of e-news posts related to syphilis in Brazil, indexed by Google, followed an increasing slope, with a record peak in October 2019. In addition, data showed that 12 new online courses related to syphilis disease were available on the AVASUS Platform Learning Management System (LMS), to support efforts to promote lifelong learning for health professionals, teachers, and students. These courses reached more than 22,000 students between February 2019 and September 2020. Serological test data showed that the number of tests carried out in 2019 were 375·18% more than in 2015, even accounting for population growth. Finally, starting from the middle of 2018, the syphilis case notification rates followed a decreasing curve. Interpretation: From this perspective, the “Syphilis No!” Project was a positive influence, inducing policy to fight syphilis in Brazil by supporting the implementation of a testing, treatment, and cure agenda (#TesteTrateCure). Certainly, this inference was made by analyzing multidimensional aspects and because, prior to 2018, the country had largely neglected this disease, with no records of communication actions during that period.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1632
JournalBMC Public Health
Volume21
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec. 2021

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