Beinvernd – The Icelandic Osteoporosis Foundation
Survey shows 98% of Icelanders are aware of osteoporosis -Iceland’s government targets 25% reduction in hip fractures by 2010
Since its launch in 1997, Beinvernd – the Icelandic Osteoporosis Society – has worked enthusiastically on raising awareness about osteoporosis as a serious and debilitatiing disease. TV advertising has been an integral part of the educational work carried out by the society. In 1999 the first TV-ad campaign was carried out to raise awareness about osteoporosis. In 2002, on Beinvernd´s 5th anniversary, a new TV-ad campaign was launched with corresponding print ads. This was part of the project for which Beinvernd won the IOF-Lilly Policy Initiative Award in 2002. A new TV-ad focused on osteoporosis in men has already been launched and will be running this year.
A 2003 Gallup-survey was initiated in order to evaluate the public’s awareness and attitude to osteoporosis as well as to evaluate the success of the advertisment campaigns.
Whereas five years ago very few people knew about osteoporosis, the results of the survey show that 98% of the 787 respondents (both men and women between the ages of 16 and 75) know about the disease. It is tempting to conclude that this advertising campaign has been successful. However, the campaign is not the only aspect of Beinvernd’s awareness-raising program. Booklets and school material have been published, lectures have been presented, and articles and interiews have appeared in the media. The website, www.beinvernd.is, attracts an average of 7.000 – 8.000 visitors per month. All this has contributed to the high level of awareness in the country.
But what has the government done so far regarding osteoporosis? DXA scanning has been reimbursed since April 1999; drugs to treat osteoporosis before the first fracture are reimbursed; and one of the main goals of the National Health Care Plan is to reduce the incidence of hip fractures by about 25% by 2010.
Furthermore, Beinvernd has received some financial support from the government for specific projects. Beinvernd has applied for financial support that equals the cost saved by preventing the “first fracture”. The rational for our application has been presented in such a way that if the preventive work that Beinvernd is doing in raising awareness about the disease will prevent fractures, especially the first fracture, the cost saved should be used in osteoporosis prevention programs. The results from the survey will be used when Beinvernd meets with the MPs on next World Osteoporosis Day in October 2004.
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