Kaftrio – Breath of Life campaign for the Croatian Association of Cystic Fibrosis Patients

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About the Client

The impossibility of proper treatment, persistent cough, exhausting therapies that only partially alleviate the symptoms, accompanied by numerous other problems arising from it, make the everyday life of patients with cystic fibrosis. Gathered in the Croatian Association of Cystic Fibrosis Patients, the members made daily efforts to bring the problem of their disease closer to the public, but time passed, patients died, and the government did nothing. This is precisely why in April 2021 this non-profit organization launched the campaign Kaftrio – breath of life with the aim of fighting for the inclusion of the drugs Kaftrio, Kalydeco and Orkambi on the Croatian Health Insurance Fund’s (CHIF) Primary List of Medications.

Given that cystic fibrosis is a genetic, incurable and fatal disease that affects many body systems in the body and causes frequent pneumonia, intense indigestion, infertility and numerous other problems, the mentioned medicines mean the difference between life and death for those patients. Recognizing the position of this vulnerable group, consisting of about 150 people, our expert team was engaged to help them fight to get decent treatment.

Challenge

The CTA komunikacije team’s task was to ensure media coverage of this campaign and to spread information about the lives of patients through the Association’s social networks, sensitizing the public to this important social issue. The goal of the campaign itself was to provide cystic fibrosis patients with much-needed medicines that have been used around the world for years, but in our country, they were not included on the Primary List of Medications by the Croatian Health Insurance Fund.

Namely, despite all the efforts of those inflicted by the disease, before the Kaftrio – breath of life campaign was conducted, only the symptoms of cystic fibrosis were treated in Croatia, never the cause. With such therapy, alleviating only the symptoms, the average life expectancy of patients was between 30 and 40 years, but with the life-saving drugs Kaftrio, Kalydeco and Orkambi, it is significantly extended while the daily routine is improved and facilitated.

Solution

The Croatian Association of Cystic Fibrosis Patients launched the Kaftrio – Breath of Life campaign in April 2021, thus laying the foundations for communication with the public, and our expert team got involved on July 15, 2021, marking the official start of intensified media activities. Given the socially responsible nature of the project, cooperation with certain national and local media and journalists who followed the campaign from the very beginning was intensified.

Media announcements were shaped using a narrative made possible by the Croatian Association of Cystic Fibrosis Patients. As part of the campaign, press releases were created in response to each session of the CHIF Medical Committee, concluded without a clear progress towards inclusion of medicines on the Primary List of Medications. After four sessions, held on May 11, June 8, July 6, and September 7, 2021, the application for inclusion of medicines was rejected. The campaign finally bore fruit at the end of September when the Medical Committee decided to include all three medicines on CHIF’s Primary List of Medications. Reaching the goal was anything but easy.

Namely, in addition to continuous activities on the Association’s social networks, official letters were sent to CHIF, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, Minister of Health Vili Beroš, and President Zoran Milanović, as a sort of an appeal to stand up for the sick. On July 29, a petition was created intending to collect 20,000 signatures, and the goal was exceeded in only three months. By the end of September, over 34,000 people had expressed their support for the appeals of the Association, which showed that people were well aware of the unequal position in which all those suffering from this serious and deadly disease in Croatia found themselves in.

From July 15, 2021 to September 23, 2021, the campaign generated over 260 organic announcements in the media, of which 249 announcements on national, regional and local internet portals. As regards the television shows, it should be emphasized that the campaign made it into several services for the HRT newscast, as well as the one of Nova TV. The Kaftrio – Breath of Life campaign created a great response from the public and generated a significant amount of user-generated content (UGC). On social networks, in addition to the hashtag #kaftrioudahživota (#kaftriobreathoflife), support was provided by many famous personalities, such as Zlatko Dalić and the entire Croatian football team, Sonja Kovač, Jelena Perčin, Hana Hadžiavdagić Tabaković, Ivan Dečak, Nevena Rendeli, Mario Petreković, Jelena Perić, Natko Beck and many others.

After a little more than two months of media pressure, the goal of the campaign was fulfilled, and on September 23, 2021, the drugs Kaftrio, Kalydeco and Orkambi were included in the CHIF’s Primary List of Medications, indicating a great positive change in our society. It also marked the beginning of a new, better life for all patients, without fear of what tomorrow brings.