BILL & MELINDA GATES FOUNDATION: MEDIA RELATIONS MANAGEMENT & STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT

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Category :

PUBLIC AFFAIRS

SITUATION:

In 2008, there were 1606 polio cases reported from 17 countries worldwide, compared to 895 cases in 11 countries in 2007. Nearly half (783) of the cases were in Nigeria. More than 75% of type 1 cases came from Nigeria. Kano, a state in Northern Nigeria, accounted for one-third of these cases. It also caused a spread to six other countries in West Africa. The battle for polio eradication is said to hinge on Northern Nigeria. The polio eradication programme is representative of the broader health system governance challenges characteristic of much of Nigeria’s north.

 

TASK:

Develop and deliver a communications plan for The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundations visit to Sokoto and Abuja at the beginning of February 2009, in which they would address these issues and reach pre-determined objectives set by the foundation.

 

APPROACH:

C&F Porter Novelli helped organise a series of meetings with key stakeholders to enable the Foundation increase political buy-in on polio in Nigeria at many levels of government, which would translate into improved campaign quality at the field level. By showcasing Mr. Gates polio-related meetings with influential leaders in the media, we increased accountability for the polio programme and over time helped allay concerns that polio vaccines were not safe.

 

RESULT:

The reportage received on the visit by the co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation exceeded expectations of the client and served as a wake-up call to stakeholders in the health sector and the Nigerian citizens at large on the importance of protecting every Nigerian child from the polio virus. The total press mentions recorded of the Gates Foundation visit was 146.