In 2013, a vast 21% gap existed between the percentage of Aboriginal children and non-Aboriginal children aged 12 months old who were fully immunised in SA.
Our broad objective was to increase immunisation rates in South Australian Aboriginal children aged 0-7 years, with a major focus on 0-12 months of age.
A more ambitious target was to “Close the gap” between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children, with no other Australian state or territory successfully achieving this in the past.
While 95% of Aboriginal children in SA are born in public hospitals, many Aboriginal people are reluctant to deal with mainstream health services because they fear that their
parenting skills may be judged as “not good enough” by non-Aboriginal health practitioners.
Our key insight was that Aboriginal parents want what all parents want for their children: success, happiness, safety and improvements in life.
To break through the perceived cultural complexities often presented when marketing to an indigenous audience, we would focus on the fundamental human truth.
We developed a gift pack that was given to Aboriginal mothers in hospital after their baby was born. The pack included 3 x grow suits sized 0000, 00 and 0, which included key immunisation ages “2 months”, “4 months” and “6 months”.
The pack also included a play toy, as well as a simple brochure explaining the importance of immunisation. The contents were presented in a useful carry bag.
In April 2015 it was announced: 91.80% of Aboriginal children are now fully immunised in SA, compared with 71.20% pre-campaign.
For the first time ever, the percentage of Aboriginal children aged 12 months who are fully immunised in SA is higher than the national Aboriginal average of 87%.
We not only closed the gap, but this immunisation figure for Aboriginal children was actually higher than the national average for non-Aboriginal Australians (91.20%), the first time in history this has occurred.