Sharing knowhow and joining forces towards Health for All
Contribution to the Annual Report 2015 of the MMI Network

Giving birth is not a game

Giving birth is not a game

In October 2015, Memisa launched the online videogame “Giving Birth is not a game” to sensitize the Belgian public about the problem of maternal mortality worldwide, and especially in the Southern hemisphere. Memisa invests in emergency transportation for patients in D.R. Congo to help decrease the high mortality rates.

Memisa is a Belgian medical NGO that promotes access to quality basic health care for those who need it most. We participate in the fight against poverty and for equity. Access to health care is a fundamental right, also for the most disadvantaged populations. without distinction of race, religion or political beliefs. Memisa puts a focus on the most vulnerable groups such as pregnant women and children under five.

The interventions of Memisa are mainly in sub-Saharan Africa and support existing health facilities together with local partners. We improve working conditions for the staff and provide quality medicines, medical material and equipment. Memisa also runs an educational campaign to sensitize the Belgian public on international solidarity and the existing worldwide problems of access to quality health care.

In October 2015 Memisa produced an online videogame to sensitize the Belgian public about the problem of maternal mortality worldwide, and especially in the Southern hemisphere. In the videogame we see a young African pregnant woman who has to walk, row and drive several kilometers to reach a hospital. It is a real challenge for her to arrive on time at the hospital. That is part of the explanation why 800 women a day die due to pregnancy or childbirth.

Memisa put in place a system of motorcycle-ambulances and boat-ambulances to bring patients faster to a hospital, also when the roads are very bad or inexistent. This way, a pregnant woman can be transported to the hospital where she can give birth under medical supervision, which increases significantly her own and her child’s chances of survival.

In this game the challenge of arriving (on time) at a hospital, is projected into these 3 levels. As a player you have to achieve all of them before arriving at the hospital. You are challenged and it is a projection of how it feels to be a young African pregnant woman to go to the hospital.

By playing the game, the Belgian public is informed and sensitized about the difficult circumstances pregnant women face in some African villages.

The game was spread through our social media and thanks to good online press return. The game can be consulted online for free and will be used as an educational tool until October 2016 when we will launch the new campaign. It is a good tool to sensitize people and promote international solidarity in a world where social media, internet, smartphones and tablets are mainstream (although mainly in northern countries).

To attract players, we organized a competition at the launch of the game. Players could win all sorts of prices: the biggest was a return airplane ticket from Brussels Airlines to Africato a destination by choice. There were also chocolates, world maps, books, cycle tours, and many more presents. All prices were kindly donated to Memisa.

We also had support from famous people (an actress, 2 singers, a photographer, a rapper, soap actor) from our country who stimulated their audience and fans to play our game. They also testified why this game, this action is imported to them.

We launched the game with a press release in the center of Brussels. There was a giant screen on the market where passer-by could play the game. The Secretary of State for Health was present to support our action. Besides the official launch, we also promoted the game at several events: students played the game at school in their classrooms, provincial actions were held on different marketplaces (one during a Christmas market) where people could play on a big screen, hospitals organized the possibility to play the game in their main hall on a big screen, etc.

The game was a result of a cooperation with our partners of the project “hospital for hospital”. Memisa works with a network of about 50 hospitals spread all over Belgium. These hospitals are our target groups for our educational and sensitization campaigns (the staff, patients, visitors). Several workgroup meetings a year are organized where we brainstorm together on the on the content of different actions, amongst them our national campaign.

Contribution by Memisa to the Annual Report 2015 of the MMI Network

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