How to set up a public health campaign: Croatian example of environmental mercury exposureReport as inadecuate

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Periodicum biologorum, Vol.111 No.1 March 2009. -

Background and Purpose: Environmental mercury pollution is problem

well recognized by scientific community. One of the tools for rising

awareness is the health promotion campaigns. Here we analyze main communication elements used in »Stay Healthy, Stop Mercury« campaign, how they were applied in Croatia and what were the effects of the campaign.

Materials and Methods: As the campaign tools, educational materials,

standardized questionnaire and instructions for media mobilization were used. Hair has been used as biomarker of exposure. The volunteers were women 25-45 years, nurses, scientists, politicians and member of women’s activist organization. Volunteers participated in various public presentations, upon which media coverage was analyzed. As an indicator, number of copies

of the press, type of article, length and time of broadcasting on TV and radio and type of transmission was used. For web pages number of visits was used.

Results and Conclusion: All volunteers had detectable levels of mercury in hair, some above reference dose level of 1 mg-g which could be linked to the fish consumption. Campaign had short term effect. Media supported campaign for about 30 days. National news agency HINA distributed the information but small number of TV stations and newspapers has rebroadcast it. Only one national specialized women’s magazine wrote an article on this topic. Two web portals posted the information. Nevertheless, biomonitoring

should be continued especially on the coast and islands where higher

fish consumption is recorded. It has been shown that health promotion is long term process with numerous repeating of specifically targeted health campaigns and sensitizing of the population.

public health campaign; Croatia; methylmercury; fish consumption

Author: NATAŠA JANEV HOLCER - ; Medical School, University of Zagreb, Andrija Štampar School of Public Health, Department of Environmen



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