Developing a brucellosis public health information and awareness campaign in Iraq

Mil Med. 2008 Jan;173(1):79-84. doi: 10.7205/milmed.173.1.79.

Abstract

U.S. Army civil affairs public health professionals are deployed worldwide in support of current contingency operations to promote and to preserve the public health of the citizens of the occupied territory or host nation. In Iraq, they face the challenge of assisting a health care system plagued by years of neglect and inefficient bureaucracy. Iraqi efforts to track and to control infectious diseases, especially zoonotic diseases, are in their infancy. Brucellosis, a worldwide zoonotic disease of ruminants, is of particular concern in Iraq because of the close proximity of animals to humans and the cultural habits that favor disease dissemination among the population. A public health education and awareness campaign was recently developed in Ninewa Province, Iraq, to educate Iraqi citizens about brucellosis and ways to prevent it. The public health campaign used a two-pronged approach to effect change, i.e., (1) development of a social marketing campaign (public health education) about brucellosis and its prevention, with billboards, flyers, and public service announcements, and (2) mobilization of key veterinary institutions to participate in educating and training the public and farmers about brucellosis. The campaign used culturally relevant messages and was targeted to address local cultural practices, to lower disease transmission. Efforts were made to state messages using local terms and references. This approach may have utility in other public health efforts in Iraq and other postconflict stabilization operations.

MeSH terms

  • Awareness*
  • Brucellosis / prevention & control*
  • Brucellosis / transmission
  • Health Education*
  • Health Promotion*
  • Humans
  • Iraq
  • Military Medicine*
  • Military Personnel
  • Public Health*
  • Social Marketing*
  • United States
  • Veterinarians
  • Warfare*