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Charlotte Amalie
Sunday, May 22, 2022
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Department of Health Honored for Communication

The Virgin Islands Department of Health has been honored by the National Public Health Information Coalition in a national competition honoring excellence in public health communication.

The Department of Health earned a Silver Award in the Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication category for its “Fight the Bite Dengue Fever Education Campaign,” aimed at getting residents to recognize that Dengue fever prevention is not just the responsibility of the government, but everyone.

“We are extremely proud that the premier nationwide voice of public health communication has recognized our work,” said Dr. Mercedes K.C. Dullum, acting health commissioner. “After all, public health is all about preventing illness and injury, and that means educating people to help them understand and reduce their individual health risks.”

Dengue fever contributes to more illness and death among humans than any other vector-borne viral disease. In the Virgin Islands, three of the four Dengue virus serotypes (Dengue-1, Dengue-2, and Dengue-4) are known to have caused disease outbreaks. In 2010, the Department of Health found itself dealing with the second Dengue fever epidemic in five years.

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For that reason, the campaign’s annual Dengue fever alert aim went beyond the standard press release to coincide with the hurricane season. It also sought to get residents to recognize that Dengue epidemics can be like hurricanes – they are recurrent and seasonal, can be deadly, and given the alarm signals, they can be prepared for.

Dullum praised the departments Public Health Preparedness Division for its in-house produced campaign – a combination of press releases, print, broadcast, and web-based ads in English and Spanish – as well as paraphernalia emblazoned with the message “Fight the Bite.” Some radio ads were timed to coincide with cultural events, such as V.I. Carnival, using a favorite saying that “Rain Don’t Stop the Carnival but it does make it ripe for Dengue.”

NPHIC is the leading national organization for public health communication professionals. The award program offers gold, silver, and bronze awards in more than a dozen public health communication categories.

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The Virgin Islands Department of Health has been honored by the National Public Health Information Coalition in a national competition honoring excellence in public health communication.

The Department of Health earned a Silver Award in the Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication category for its “Fight the Bite Dengue Fever Education Campaign,” aimed at getting residents to recognize that Dengue fever prevention is not just the responsibility of the government, but everyone.

“We are extremely proud that the premier nationwide voice of public health communication has recognized our work,” said Dr. Mercedes K.C. Dullum, acting health commissioner. “After all, public health is all about preventing illness and injury, and that means educating people to help them understand and reduce their individual health risks.”

Dengue fever contributes to more illness and death among humans than any other vector-borne viral disease. In the Virgin Islands, three of the four Dengue virus serotypes (Dengue-1, Dengue-2, and Dengue-4) are known to have caused disease outbreaks. In 2010, the Department of Health found itself dealing with the second Dengue fever epidemic in five years.

For that reason, the campaign’s annual Dengue fever alert aim went beyond the standard press release to coincide with the hurricane season. It also sought to get residents to recognize that Dengue epidemics can be like hurricanes – they are recurrent and seasonal, can be deadly, and given the alarm signals, they can be prepared for.

Dullum praised the departments Public Health Preparedness Division for its in-house produced campaign – a combination of press releases, print, broadcast, and web-based ads in English and Spanish – as well as paraphernalia emblazoned with the message “Fight the Bite.” Some radio ads were timed to coincide with cultural events, such as V.I. Carnival, using a favorite saying that “Rain Don’t Stop the Carnival but it does make it ripe for Dengue.”

NPHIC is the leading national organization for public health communication professionals. The award program offers gold, silver, and bronze awards in more than a dozen public health communication categories.