Winning the Shorty Awards: Dengue won’t be a neglected disease for long

This morning I had woken up to fantastic news – ZN won the Shorty Industry Award for Best Use of Social Media for Healthcare with our work on Break Dengue.

Held every year, the Shortys is like the Oscars of social media – it honors the talented agencies, brands, and industry leaders who are behind the best social media channels, campaigns, websites, games, and applications. While the entire ZN team couldn’t be in New York to receive the award, Martina O’Regan proudly held the trophy high.

I was thrilled! I met lots of interesting people, people who are really trying to make a difference as they work with children or fighting AIDS. – Martina O’Regan

And the timing couldn’t be better. This week marked World Health Day and this project gained a lot of traction: Alejandra Laiton, travel blogger for Break Dengue, was interviewed by the BBC in Singapore; the Times of India wrote an article about Break Dengue’s India Prize winner; and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies collaborated with the team upon publication of their report, Dengue Turning up the volume on a silent disaster. What we have helped create and put in motion is a global cause with digital roots that has grown and continues to grow online while branching out and becoming a mainstream player that is redefining the healthcare environment.

It’s more than the award that matters

We were one of the few nominated European entrants and winning the award is an honor. But, this is only the beginning and there’s more that needs to be done to ensure that we see more collaboration in the fight against dengue fever. Awareness building is one thing, but what we really want to see is action – and that will be the true measure of our success as we gather more and more people around the cause.

As someone who comes from a dengue-endemic country (the Philippines), our work on Break Dengue hits close to home. I have seen overflowing hospital wards, families and friends clamoring for blood donations, and the suffering and unnecessary deaths the disease causes. So working on this non-profit project is something that I, and the entire team, look forward to.

“For me, this proves that we understand the fundamental change that digital brings. This wasn’t about a new communication channel, because social media is just one piece of the puzzle. It was about a well-thought out project strategy for an important social issue. And it is because it is a social cause which meets the needs of thousands of people that Break Dengue has an impact both online and offline.” – Nicholas Brooke

What we are building together is just the start of something truly amazing… from this place where anyone – from key stakeholders to ministries of health to individuals – can meet, discuss, and collaborate to combat this disease, I know that we will be able to contribute to the greater good. And this elicits a certain sense of fulfillment that no amount of trophies can bring.

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  1. By: Celine Scillinger|April 8th, 2014

    This is awesome. So proud to be part of this game-changing initiative. We’re powering global health by connecting and engaging people against a devastating disease. Long live Break Dengue!


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