This year the NACCTT will be hosting our 3rd Annual World IBD Day Awareness Mall Campaign. This campaign involves setting up awareness booths on selected Saturdays in the month of May at popular malls across Trinidad and Tobago. This allows us to reach a large number of people, specifically young people who are at a high risk of developing Inflammatory Bowel Disease (over 50% of the NACCTT’s patient membership are under the age of 30).
Our booths are operated primarily by patient members and supporter members of the NACCTT. Booth visitors have access to educational literature on IBD, interactive educational games with a chance to win awareness merchandise as prizes and the option to purchase certain merchandise e.g. awareness t-shirts and purple ribbon cupcakes. They also have the opportunity to have discussions with members on their experiences on living with IBD and register as a patient or supporter member onsite.
The booth sometimes includes a ‘Speak with a Gastroenterologist’ section (depending on the availability of any of our specialists on the day of the event). Here members of the public can have brief, private sessions with a Gastroenterologist about any GI related health issues they may be experiencing with follow up plans at a public or private health facility, if necessary.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease, both Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis are relatively unheard in this country. The benefits of this campaign have been increasing public awareness about IBD here in T&T, building NACCTT membership, linking existing IBD patients who were unaware of our existence to our resources, providing information to enable undiagnosed persons to seek treatment and reach diagnosis in a shorter time.
On World IBD Day we host a ‘Put on Purple’ initiative via social media. We encourage members, their supporters and the public to wear purple in support of IBD Awareness and post pictures with the tag #worldibdday. This year we will be delighted to include #worldibdday2017 and #unitedwestand2017 as part of our initiative. Our members also distribute awareness literature on our behalf and share their personal experiences with IBD at their schools or workplaces on this day.