IMPROVING HEALTH LITERACY FOR AUSTRALIANS.
What we learned from the 2023 Australian Pharmacy Professional Conference and the role of public relations in supporting better healthcare outcomes for the country.
Each year, hundreds of pharmacy professionals gather on the Gold Coast to discuss the state of the Australian healthcare industry. DEC PR partners with incredible consumer healthcare clients, such as Reckitt, Bayer, PharmaCare, Galderma and more, so we invest in sending our team to the Australian Pharmacy Professional (APP) Conference to explore the exhibition, see the latest product innovation that will shortly make its way to bathroom shelves, and – most importantly – to hear from experts about the important role of community pharmacist in the context of our greater national health agenda.
This year, the focus for pharmacists was clear: Help improve health literacy for Australian communities. And it’s the same goal we should have as PR and communications practitioners.
Good health literacy is when a person has the knowledge and motivation to understand, judge and apply information in order to make effective decisions about their own health and healthcare options. It’s putting health in the hands of the patient, and it’s what we should all be striving for as a community – informed choices made by the person those choices impact the most.
Through integrated campaigns that raise awareness of common health conditions, we are able to improve the health awareness of Australians from all backgrounds. We’ve done this in the past by shining a spotlight on how pain and inflammation manifests in the body for Nurofen, that heavy menstrual bleeding shouldn’t be a monthly showdown for Bayer Women’s Health, and how thrush isn’t something to be ashamed about with Canesten. And huge thanks to our clients for engaging us for these campaigns – the health literacy of Australians are all the better for it.
We’re excited to be working on more of the same in coming months, and will continue to direct consumers to their community pharmacy for further advice. A pharmacist is a clinician who has incredible, and yet often underutilised, medical training. The COVID-19 pandemic was difficult for this cohort of health care professionals (which is why we worked with our clients to donate funds to their Support Service), though the wider healthcare industry endorsed them as vital players in the community – a front-line health practitioner that can support their community members when GP appointments are either unavailable or unwarranted. For example, community pharmacists stepped up to administer 9.5million vaccines during the pandemic. Huge.
With the focus of APP2023 on upskilling the pharmacy workforce to increase their scope of practise through giving vaccinations, prescribing, and diagnosing (demonstrated through pilot programs across various states), the pharmacist will continue to play an influential role on our family’s health – including health literacy. At DEC PR, in partnership with our clients, we can’t wait to support them through branded and non-branded consumer healthcare campaigns designed to raise awareness of common disease states with Australians.