The ‘Bridge of Health Partner Chain’, initiated by the Bridge of Health Alliance and its main sponsor GE, proved to be successful.
The annual Bridge Walk through Budapest’s Chain Bridge and the ‘Pink Day of Health’ has become symbols of the nationwide awareness–raising campaign to call attention to the curability of breast cancer, the importance of early diagnosis and the risk-mitigating impact of healthy lifestyle.
“I have to say that those who haven’t heard of these things by 2009, do not whatch TV, listen to the radio or read newspapers” says one of the ‘motors’ of the happenings, Eszter Szabó, Regional Leader of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs at General Electric, the company that sponsors the Bridge of Health Alliance.
Szabó designed the annual Bridge of Health upon the request of the then US Ambassador, Nancy Brinker, back in 2002. “In addition to the traditional, nationwide programs, a new initiative was launched this year, the ‘Bridge of Health PartnerChain’, Szabó continues. GE basically handed over its own internal health awareness best practice they have been using for years now in Hungary, to the Alliance. Following our model, those 16 companies that adopted the ‘PartnerChain,’ have also launched internal campaigns to motivate employees and their families, so, finally some 100,000 people were reached this way by e-mails, word of mouth, internal health quiz and multiple other phases that didn’t need money to be spent.”
Szabó notes that according to GE’s philosophy, healthy living and early detection of diseases are two fundamental pillars of sustainable and affordable healthcare globally. “Affordable healthcare and prevention should be key concern for the Hungarian healthcare system,” she points out. “Since 2002, the Hungarian Health Authority invites women aged between 45 and 65 to attend mammography screening every second year. Currently, only 38 percent of women from the most threatened age-group respond to the invitation,” she adds. “We hope that through our project, an increasingly greater number of women will get the message that they should take more care about their health and should not forget about screening, as breast cancer, if detected at an early stage, has a curability rate of more than 90 percent.” Among others, Magyar Posta, Pfizer, Siemens, Budapest Bank, ERSTE Bank and Sofitel Chain Bridge Hotel have been either long term financial supporters of the Alliance or joined this initiative.
“As this project is very cost effective and it is all about clever and effective internal communication and maybe some extra hours, I’m sure that next year more companies will join the Alliance,” Szabó adds. “I am very happy to see that GE, the only corporate sponsor that has been supporting the Hungarian Bridge Alliance since its launch in 2002, both financially and through its relationship with other businesses and organizations, now has the opportunity to share its corporate best practice with other partner-companies,” she says. “I consider this year’s campaign to be a product development and a quality jump, reached by women, mainly.” This year’s leapfrog effect is not a surprize as the Bridge Alliance is Hungary’s first health awareness program, realized in a PPP construction, helped by volunteers, celebrities and the media.