Week Notes #3

It’s been another great week in the world of comms with an impromptu bus journey to Cwmbran, a very exciting skype call with Sweden and a whole lot of planning and preparation for the SHARP joint action.

My week started with a surprise trip to Cwmbran to do some filming with an amazing team of AAA screeners. Now I’d never heard of AAA before organising this so here’s a quick intro-  AAA stands for Abdominal Aortic Aneurism. In Wales, over 200 people die each year because of AAA, but a simple 15-minute screening could help reduce these numbers by identifying the early signs of growth; especially in the 65+ male category who automatically receive an invite for screening. It’s a really fast, simple process that involves a discussion with a trained screener and an ultrasound- admittedly it took every grown-up bone in my body not to ask to have a go!

Elsewhere this week, PHW released the latest stats on Bowel cancer screening, another vital screening service that can significantly improve the chances of bowel cancer survival if caught early. Check out the PHW news story and click through to our campaign page to see a snappy little video of Welsh rugby legend Jamie Roberts.

Providing a dose of mid-week motivation was the incredible Sara Bengtsson from the Public Health institute of Sweden. Sara is one of several leads on WP5 of the SHARP joint action- IHR core capacity strengthening and assessment.

It was so inspiring chatting with Sara.  She was so clearly excited by the topic of International Health Regulation and had such a clear understanding of who her audiences were, what they needed to know and what materials they needed to access that knowledge- this makes my job as a communicator so much easier! It felt like one of those really energised conversations where both parties are on exactly the same wavelength, which really has filled me with hope for what we can be achieved comms wise for such a broad work package. She also referred to the Sustainable Development Goals and how our work as a joint action is a crucial part of  achieving them… and as a global goals geek this filled me with pure joy!

My week ended with some content planning, which resulted in me trying to condense each of the work packages into a few bullet points to make the information more accessible. This was no easy task. The work of the joint action is so broad and all encompassing; it includes so many areas of preparedness and risk, and engages so many stakeholders across health care and science, politics and industry. In addition to that, the amount of work and it’s sheer complexity is near on impossible to shorten or simplify. That said, I certainly took a good whack at it and hopefully the resulting content will prove successful over the coming weeks/months. Watch this space!

My hope is that by opening up the dialogue, by creating visibility and allowing people to see the journey that SHARP goes on, they will be more open and understanding of the recommendations and actions that will be implemented as a result of the work. We need only look at what’s happening with the coronavirus to see that there is a huge disconnect between the people making key decisions about the course of action and the people on the street. Now, this may be because much of the conversation is happening out of sight and for very good reason; but if we want people to listen to us, we have to be up front and honest with them; and most importantly we have to help them identify their role in becoming part of the solution.

If you’re concerned about coronavirus in Wales then you can check out the latest news on the PHW website which will be updated each day at 3pm.

That’s it for another Week Notes. Lots of exciting things coming up in March both in and out of work so do follow along to find out what I’ll be getting up to.

One last friendly plug, Pride Cymru’s ‘Leap Into Sight’ LGBT+ History month event will be taking place at the Senedd on Saturday 29th Feb. I’ll be there helping capture the action but do pop along to listen to an array of incredible and inspiring talks, as well as the chance to take a picture with a lego suffragette. Book your FREE TICKETS now!

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