Kizazi Chetu, meaning ‘Our Generation’ in Swahili, is a cervical health movement designed to build engagement and demand for cervical cancer screening and treatment services in Kenya through a scalable strategic communications campaign and influence model. The campaign efforts centre on multi-stakeholder partnerships and influencer advocacy, bringing together a diverse group of allies from policymakers and service providers to thought leaders and cancer survivors, among others, to end cervical cancer in Kenya and across East Africa.
There existed a clear need for the campaign as 3,200 women die from cervical cancer in Kenya every year. It is the most frequent cancer among Kenyan women between 15 and 44 years of age. Yet, awareness of this preventable disease remains low. Many women lack access to screening and treatment, resulting in cervical cancer cases reaching an advanced stage before and if they are detected. Eliminating cervical cancer would require that 70 per cent of Kenyan women get screened for cervical cancer. Kizazi Chetu exists to accelerate this goal.
For Kizazi Chetu, we partnered with TogetHER for Health to design, test, and launch the first phase of the eight-week campaign, which took place between May and July 2021. Scope engaged in rapid discovery, engaging partners as key informants, to understand the various perceptions and barriers for cervical health in Kenya as well as opportunities and triggers for change. Based on the findings, we developed the campaign messaging.
The campaign strategy was built to spark positive conversations around screening and treatment, engage in dialogue on cervical health, and apply non-gendered, inclusive language that encouraged cross-generational engagements on the topic. This approach contributed to building trust, widening the campaign reach, and tackling taboos surrounding the cervical health awareness and service access journey.
Kizazi Chetu’s public awareness drive targeted a predominantly urban audience in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Eldoret, and Nakuru counties reachable through digital and national media. The campaign took place on both social and traditional media platforms, including:
For the second phase of Kizazi Chetu, Scope and TogetHER for Health employ futures thinking and system design to support the introduction of improved technologies for cervical cancer screening and preventive treatment in Kenya.
The project uses participatory research to identify existing service delivery and policy barriers, risks, as well as opportunities for the adoption and acceptance of new cervical health-promoting technologies. The in-depth research insights will be used to create actionable solutions and alternative future scenarios to design a collective vision for cervical cancer-free Kenya.
The future vision will then inform the co-creation of a new technology integration roadmap with stakeholders from counties and organisations to create an enabling policy and delivery environment for cervical health at the national level. After pressure testing and iterating the roadmap together with our local partners, we will present a scalable technology accelerator model to support the integration of cervical health innovations into country-level health systems.
Kizazi Chetu’s PR and digital media strategy, which leaned on partner, influencer, and cervical health advocate engagement, turned out highly successful. During the campaign period, Kizazi Chetu garnered 64 million impressions on social media and 29 million impressions on traditional and online news media.
Furthermore, throughout the active campaign, Google searches for ‘cervical cancer’ increased by 317 per cent during the campaign period compared to the previous year. Similarly, interest in ‘cervical cancer screening’ increased in Google searches by up to 100 per cent compared to a month before the campaign.
Increased online interest in cervical health was also reflected in the uptake of screening services. Our service provider partners recorded that the demand for cervical cancer screening almost doubled in the campaign period when compared to the same period in 2020, and there was a notable, though not as steep, increase reported in screening numbers in government facilities.
Read the Kizazi Chetu phase 1 report