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Championing antimicrobial stewardship

While antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections and are at times necessary for medical care, they aren’t effective against viral infections, including the common cold and influenza. Unfortunately, taking them for these illnesses, along with other misuse of antibiotics and antimicrobial drugs, has dire consequences to public health. It leads to bacterial strains that are resistant to existing medications, making illnesses caused by bacterial infections harder to treat—which is bad news for everyone, now and in the future.


Enter the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) Community Antimicrobial Stewardship (CAS) program. Focused on eliminating antibiotic misuse and antimicrobial resistance (AMR), CAS has taken the lead in addressing AMR in B.C., using a variety of tools including its website, And its efforts are paying off, with the overall antibiotic prescription rate in the province decreasing by 22.5% since the program started in 2005.


However, the CAS team saw more needed to be done, particularly in reaching B.C. residents over the age of 65, as they are prescribed antibiotics at a rate that’s 60% higher than adults between the ages of 15 and 59. They’re also among the most at-risk groups for AMR-related illnesses. So, in fall 2021, CAS partnered with Be the Change Group to launch a province-wide media campaign to reach this key audience.


For fulsome community engagement, the campaign featured digital, print, and video assets that were featured in print, online, TV, and social media, and at high-traffic physical locations, such as bus shelters. Specific assets were also created in simplified Chinese to reach Chinese seniors and their caregivers.


The campaign extended the reach of the CAS program and was at once eye-catching, accessible, and resonant with the intended audiences. Blending humour with clear and actionable information, it’s work that will save lives in generations to come.



      Visit their website


      The change


      increase in Facebook page reach compared to the previous 30-day period


      increase in Instagram profile reach compared to the previous 30-day period


      increase in new website users compared to the previous 30-day period

      Our process


      Our Research and Community Engagement team carried out a cross-jurisdictional review of antibiotic campaigns and best practices to inform campaign strategy. To get a better understanding of the CAS program and a direction for the messaging, they also did a background review of the CAS program website,, and took a deep dive on AMR facts and statistics at the provincial, national, and international levels.

      Our process

      Using the right media channels

      Regardless of cultural background, antibiotic misuse is an issue that especially needs to be addressed across the 65+ population in B.C. One of the cultural groups the CAS team wanted to reach was older folks of Chinese heritage. Understanding that regular channels such as social media platforms like Facebook may not be as accessible with that audience due to language barriers, we worked with two local Chinese papers, Sing Tao and Ming Pao, to reach this audience segment.


      A robust evaluation process

      Our Research + Community Engagement team built an evaluation framework and led a comprehensive quantitative and qualitative analysis of the campaign’s impact. Their work gave more insight into the effectiveness of the selected media channels, how target audiences perceived the campaign, if there were corresponding behavioural and mindset changes, and what target audiences would like to see from future campaigns.

      In addition to gathering and analyzing qualitative and quantitative data from social media listening, Google analytics, and media partner reports, our researchers went deeper and created an online pop-up survey that collected more comprehensive responses from visitors to the website.

      Evaluation process

      Engaging with the community


      website visitors surveyed


      people surveyed on the streets


      social media comments analyzed

      Our solution

      Raising awareness for antibiotic resistance

      Ultimately, we delivered an informed, multi-year, and province-wide media campaign in B.C. that raised awareness of antibiotic resistance and the impacts of antibiotic misuse on the public’s health, especially those 65 years and older. In addition to raising awareness of this urgent issue, the campaign also gave clear direction on what the public can do to help reduce the individual and global risk of antibiotic resistance with the solution-focused campaign tagline: “Don’t share. Don’t hoard. Don’t overuse.”

      Using people-centred imagery, a range of media channels, and an in-depth review of the challenges we’re helping CAS address, we have increased the reach of CAS messaging to its target audience, including folks from diverse cultural backgrounds. What’s more, the campaign will support the CAS program’s future efforts to facilitate behaviour change relating to antibiotic use and misuse.

      “Be the Change Group was an excellent partner in helping to deliver our important public health messaging. Their ability and expertise in crafting messaging, engaging with public audiences, and evaluating outcomes was top notch.”

      – Nick Smith, Project Manager for the Community Antimicrobial Stewardship program