25 September 2023 | Monday | News
Bayer Pharmaceuticals Division in Asia/Pacific announced in conjunction with World Contraception Day, the inception of its 'Bayer For Her' regional campaign that has been piloted first in Thailand since September 2022. The campaign has since rolled out to Singapore, South Korea, Taipei City and rest of ASEAN markets including Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam.
'Bayer For Her' is not an awareness campaign but a call to action for women in Asia to share #ConversationsofCare about their own health issues – ranging from contraception to endometriosis and menstrual pain or heavy menstrual bleeding – and talk to a healthcare professional about them. The social stigma women face at home and in the workplace often result in a lot of stress and shame. 'Bayer For Her' advocates local health screenings in above countries, menstrual and psychological support to employees, as well as flexible working policies at all levels.
Asian women living in Singapore appear to be more prone to deep infiltrating endometriosis, with higher levels of bleeding during menstruation, than their Western counterparts. In Singapore, menstrual issues have emerged as one of the top concerns, with eight in 10 women being affected by such conditions, according to a Doctor Anywhere and Bayer Women's Health Survey.
According to Guttmacher Institute, almost 132 million women of reproductive age in Asia have an unmet need for modern contraception that is, they want to avoid a pregnancy but are either not practicing contraception or are using traditional methods, which are less effective than modern methods. The ability for women to choose how many children they want, if at all, and when they want to have them is central to women's empowerment and sustainable development in achieving the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals. For all these reasons, Bayer has set the goal to provide education to 100 million women in low- and middle-income countries on access to family planning by 2030.
Improving women's health, rights and economic status is a large step towards increasing gender equality. As women take center stage in various aspects of society, including leadership roles and making family health decisions, there is increasing need to address their unique health concerns and provide tailored approach to such unmet needs. Also, as women take on multiple roles and as carers, they often focus so much on taking care of others that they forget to prioritize their own health.
'Bayer For Her' is championing locally for women to find their best avenues to reach out to healthcare professionals, friends and family and not suffer in silence. The campaign which has been shortlisted as a Finalist in the SABRE Awards APAC 2023 has gained traction over the past year – with over 18 local partners/NGOs in eight countries and thousands of healthcare professionals and Bayer employees joining the cause.
Here's a snapshot of the country milestones:
In partnership with National Family Planning Coordinating Board (BKKBN) and Indonesia Midwives Association, several livestreams via Bicara Kontrasepsi and BKKBN Instagram were organized to reach out to women on the topic of contraception. An "EmpowerHer" sport employee activity with social media campaign and a serial women's healthcare talks with Healthcare Professional were conducted to spread the campaign. In March, two local employees were featured on Bayer's Linkedin video series to share their personal journey living with Endometriosis.
In addition to its existing Ask Maya education series on Meta, Bayer is collaborating with the National Population and Family Development Board to drive awareness and knowledge on the importance of family planning and benefits of contraception use. In the "Choose with Confidence" campaign which will be held throughout September this year, qualified women in the low-income family will have access to counselling and subsidized contraceptive at selected Nur Sejahtera clinics under the National Population and Family Development Board to help address cost-related barriers especially to high-risk groups.
'Bayer For Her' was launched in the Philippines in August with an initial campaign with a series of free pop-up consultation clinics at selected partner drug stores to encourage more women seek out expert advice on reproductive health. These pop-up clinics through local pharmacy partners aimed at helping create safe spaces for women to speak up and normalize conversations about their reproductive health concerns, as well as break down barriers or common misconceptions on why they do not consult with their doctors to get the support they need. Content creator and reproductive health advocates Say Tioco, Verniece Enciso and former professional volleyball player Melissa Gohing-Nacino also used the platform to spread conversations of care.
GP doctors are usually the first point of contact for women's health and preventative medical care thus Bayer partnered with telehealth provider Doctor Anywhere (DA) to conduct a women's health survey (Conversations of Care) in 2022 to 1,212 Asian women in Singapore. Through this effort, Bayer seeks to understand their views on a range of topics from contraception to cancer, and menstrual health. The survey gathered women's anonymous feedback on their top health concerns, one of the key findings hit home; Co-workers/colleagues were singled out as least understanding of concerns around female health, and consequently women felt uncomfortable talking to co-workers/colleagues about their female health. As part of our internal launch, the survey reminded female colleagues in the office to take charge of their health with regular checks and screenings while also encouraging all colleagues to support one another on their health concerns at the workplace through company initiatives backed by HR policies.
Bayer Korea developed a key indicator, MVPT, for monitoring menstrual health and conducted a survey for 1,000 Korean women on their menstrual symptoms and impact on daily life. Leveraging the survey result as infographic including a heavy menstrual bleeding (HMB) self-checklist on the nation's leading chat platform KakaoTalk channel and also SNS (IG, Blogs) through a collaboration with influencers which resulted in over 3,659,102 views. In addition, the educational posters with self-checklist and disease information were distributed to 600 clinics nationwide with QR code for patients' easy access to information on HMB, estimated to affect one in three women.
Over 60 employees and healthcare professionals from its medical society and NGO HOPE Foundation, Taiwan pedaled off 'Bayer For Her' by cycling 60km around Taipei city to form the shape of a uterus in a bid to #breakdiscrimination, urging women to #DoNotLiveWithPain. The physical activation resulted in a call to action for women to download the QR code for an endometriosis checker that would lead them through geofencing to their nearest location of the linked OBGYNs at medical centers and regional hospitals. The campaign not only aimed at increasing awareness of endometriosis and increasing early diagnosis but also created a positive outlook for women to embrace.
Piloting 'Bayer For Her' on WCD2022 in partnership with the Department of Health's Bureau of Reproductive Health and the Planned Parenthood Association of Thailand (PPAT) under the Patronage of H.R.H. Princess Mother, Thailand hosted a series of "Breaking Myths" educational events online and at Siam Square. Together with pharmacy chains Bangkok Drugstore, Boots Pharmacy and P&F, women in Thailand can continue to gain access to proper contraception information. Further working with digital thought leaders including physicians and pharmacists, a 3-month TikTok campaign was initiated to drive local #ConversationsofCare, boosted by local hero videos on Meta channels including "Pantip".
Grounded in science, Vietnam's 'Science for Her' platform unites its Pharmaceuticals and Consumer Health divisions to address women's wide range of healthcare needs across all life stages. Through strategic partnerships with the signing of two Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at National Hospital of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Hung Vuong Hospital and a France-Vietnam OBGYN Conference attended by over thousands of delegates, Bayer Vietnam aims to foster collaborations with international OBGYN organizations and experts to enable knowledge transfer and information exchange with local medical community. In consumer outreach, tailored activities with two leading pharmacy chains and livestreams empower women on selfcare, active lifestyle and disease prevention. Bayer Vietnam has been partnering with the General Office of Population and Family Planning of the Ministry of Health to provide better care and access for Vietnamese women for eight consecutive years.