Whilst each of the entries undoubtedly made a very impressive impact in their area of work, the winning entry stood out for the measurable impact it made on public health in 2018, and in how it delivered this impact, namely with a very positive partnership between a charity and the state health promotion services.
The award is for the big impact made by the Foundation’s “I gave a sh*t and it saved my life” public awareness campaign, designed to increase the rates of bowel cancer screening in two disadvantaged communities in Ireland: Blanchardstown and Galway. Bowel cancer accounts for 11% of all cancer deaths in Ireland and is particularly prevalent in disadvantaged communities. The national screening service for 60-69 year olds, BowelScreen, still has a low uptake of 40.2% - worse in disadvantaged communities and the target set in the National Cancer Strategy for 2020 is to increase this to 60%. Having delivered the targeted campaign and interventions during March and May respectively, the impact, verified by the National Screening Services, was a 7.6% increase in the uptake of BowelScreen in both Blanchardstown and Galway as a direct result of the MKF campaign.
The augmentation by MKF of a national public health initiative delivered by a statutory agency – by means of a nimble, focused and innovative campaign displays the strengths and abilities of both sectors. It shows that to get full penetration into certain populations, voluntary organisations quite simply, often better equipped. However, the national coverage is something that can only be delivered by a statutory partner. A full and coherent service from the public’s perspective was delivered by the partnership between the sectors, with each playing to their strengths.