To raise global awareness of preeclampsia, maternal health organizations around the world joined forces to host the first-ever World Preeclampsia Day on Monday, May 22. Co-sponsors BabyCenter, Ending Eclampsia/USAID, the International Society for the Study of Hypertension in Pregnancy (ISSHP), and PRE-EMPT joined the Preeclampsia Foundation to reduce preventable deaths from preeclampsia.
As stated in a proclamation endorsed by World Preeclampsia Day co-sponsors and many other maternal health organizations, “We join together to bring to light the relatively high prevalence and devastating impact of preeclampsia and other hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. These disorders are not rare complications of pregnancy; indeed, they affect 8-10% of pregnancies worldwide.”
Using the theme Be Prepared Before Lightning Strikes, World Preeclampsia Day promotion activities focused on a dedicated web page at www.endingeclampsia.org/world-preeclampsia-day that featured a widely shared infographic and proclamation endorsed by 30 global maternal health organizations. As part of a far-reaching social media campaign, the Preeclampsia Foundation hosted a “Thunderclap” on the day of World Preeclampsia Day, May 22; this first-ever event was supported by 677 supporters and achieved a social reach of 577,729. The Foundation’s 7 Symptoms Every Pregnant Woman Should Know video was viewed at least 18,000 times during the campaign.
Participating organizations around the world extensively shared World Preeclampsia Day social media content and hosted events and activities in their local communities. Here is just a sample of worldwide activities held in recognition of World Preeclampsia Day:
The St. George Obstetric Medicine Research team in Sydney hosted a public forum, during which two women who experienced preeclampsia shared their stories. Other topics included a general talk on hypertension in pregnancy and its management, the long-term risks of preeclampsia, and the team’s P4 study addressing those risks. Melbourne hosted a public event as well.
The Ghana Action on Preeclampsia Campaign Project, an initiative of the Center for Constitution Order, was launched concurrently with World Preeclampsia Day at the 37 Military Hospital Greater Accra Region. This event initiated the campaign of raising awareness of preeclampsia and its symptoms and impact on the lives of mothers, babies, and families globally and in Ghana and the sub-region.
Three major stories relating to the INFANT Centre and preeclampsia were published on May 22. These stories focused on preeclampsia and its symptoms as well as two case studies and descriptions of the research underway in the INFANT Centre to combat the condition. Combined with this, the INFANT Centre team launched a social media campaign, hosted a coffee morning for the staff of the maternity hospital, and arranged for six landmark buildings in Ireland to be lit up in orange (the color theme of World Preeclampsia Day).
The New Zealand Action on Pre-eclampsia (NZAPEC) team thoroughly enjoyed raising awareness during May and participating in the Thunderclap campaign and World Preeclampsia Day. On May 22, they went out and about in Christchurch and Auckland visiting Midwifery Schools and midwifery practices (see below), presenting at hospital education forums, and hosting an Open Café drop-in. They communicated with midwives and consumers through professional networks and several social media platforms, especially Facebook with weekly updates through the month of May. The team was also excited to launch a new book (Understanding Pre-eclampsia – A guide for parents and health professionals), co-authored by Joyce Cowan, NZAPEC’s founder, Professor Chris Redman, and Isabel Walker.
USAID ASSIST project, implemented by University Research Co. LLC, developed a blog on its ANC/PEE improvement work in Uganda. They also featured a page on the ASSIST website (see below) dedicated to World Preeclampsia Day (see below), where they shared four things you can do to learn more about preeclampsia at www.usaidassist.org/content/world-preeclampsia-day, and posted information about preeclampsia on ASSIST social media channels using the global hashtag #worldpreeclampsiaday.