The campaign was launched in October 1998 and comprised television
and cinema advertising, leaflets, posters, a magazine and
guidance notes for professionals. It carried the strapline
'Folic acid - one of life's essentials'.
advertisement highlighted that folic acid is a vitamin that
helps prevent conditions such as spina bifida and should be
taken before becoming pregnant and until the 12th week of
pregnancy. It was pretested with focus groups.
gave information on the importance of taking folic acid and
were distributed to health service facilities, pharmacies,
Because it was
unlikely that women who were not thinking about pregnancy
would pick up a leaflet about folic acid, a magazine
in the style of popular women's magazines was produced. The
magazine entitled It's You, contained celebrity interviews,
real life stories, puzzles and general features on health
as well as information on folic acid. It was inserted into
local newspapers and sent to hairdressing salons, dental surgeries
and health centres for their waiting areas.
notes produced for health professionals included sources
of folic acid/folate, dosage and timing information, questions
and answers and contact addresses for specialist advice. The
guidance notes, produced in a flip-over format, were sent
to GPs, practice nurses, pharmacists, family planning staff,
health visitors, midwives and dietitians.
was used as an example of how to plan, develop and deliver
a health promotion campaign in the publication Campaigning
for health. This was produced for teachers and students
particularly of GNVQ Health and Social Care courses.
In November 2000
the Agency and the Department of Health and Children, Republic
of Ireland launched the campaign on an all-island basis. The
1998 television and radio advertisements developed by the
Agency were broadcast on UTV and RTE and the public information
leaflet was reprinted and distributed to pharmacies in Northern
Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.