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AH+ ‘Takes it to Heart’ while raising awareness of Rheumatic Fever

The success of the AH+ Rheumatic Fever campaign in 2017 saw the Ministry of Health endorse and fund a second campaign in 2018. The AH+ Pacific Integrated Development Services (PIDS) team are at the heart of this mission, to spread the word on Rheumatic Fever, and reduce its prevalence within our Pasifika community. Coined ‘Take to Heart’, the seven month campaign which runs from May till November, promotes awareness of rheumatic fever as well as its causes and how it can be prevented.

Engaging with 18 churches across the Auckland region, spanning three DHBs and encompassing Samoan, Tongan, Cook Island, Niuean, Fijian and Tuvaluan parishes, ‘Take it to Heart’ empowers each church to strongly engage their people to interpret the campaign’s five key messages. The Churches have embraced this opportunity, and are delivering the key messages to their communities through an innovative mixture of song, dance, theatre and poetry – a formula with which the PIDS team has already had great success.

To date, ten Churches have delivered events across Metro Auckland with between 1,500 to 2,000 people in attendance. These events are highly anticipated by the participating churches and their communities, with the hard work invested by the churches, evident in the energetic and passionate performances. Surveys that are completed at each event show a heartening increase in awareness from both the participants and the audience, as well as an increasing understanding around Rheumatic Fever causes and prevention.

Following the recent event held at EFKS Papakura Church, Faimafili Tupu from Auckland District Health Board shared her appreciation for the campaign -

“Thank you for the opportunity – to witness and to strengthen what we continue to voice – that if we empower the community with the messages for any project/programme – they will stand up, take control and deliver it in ways that will reach the audiences present”. - Faimafili Tupu, ADHB

Community events are being supported and campaign messaging strengthened, through interview segments on radio 531pi. Regular spots feature health professionals from AH+ pacific providers discussing key messages which are broadcast to radio 531pi’s many Pacific listeners. Frequent social media activity is posted on the Mama’s House facebook page as well as the pages of participating churches. Between 1 July to 30 September, our facebook posts reached over 27,000 people. Follow us to see updates on the rest of the campaign, including images and vibrant video footage from our wonderful participants:

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