Aim: Evaluation of the results from the campaign GrowInform (2017-2019), a project with the main aim to raise awareness of growth disorders, and secondary aims to facilitate screening for growth deviations in children from areas with no easy access to pediatric endocrinologists, thus achieving earlier diagnosis and treatment.
Methods: For 2 years (April 2017 to March 2018), GrowInform acted in 13 cities and towns from Eastern and Central Bulgaria (565,531 children 1 to 19 years). To increase participation rate, GrowInform worked in partnership with more than 100 media channels and social networks (Facebook, www.growinform.org, radio, television, Internet sites, newspapers, etc.). With the help of a PR specialist, interviews and publications with information about the visits in targeted areas were distributed. Outreach clinics were organised with simultaneous dedicated symposia and public lectures. The identified children with growth disorders were referred for further evaluation to the nearest pediatric endocrinologist/tertiary clinic.
Results: The vast majority of patients received information for GrowInform campaign from Facebook (36.29%), followed by Internet based media (27.01%) and General Practitioners' referrals (12.65%). Radio/TV channels (12.24%) and peer referrals (11.81%) were less presented.
A total of 237 children were consulted at a mean age 6.7±4.2 years; 97 (40.9%) children were directed for further evaluation. A total of 69 (29.1%) children were fully assessed and their diagnosis finalised; 22 (9.3%) of them commenced GH therapy; 47 (19.8%) are still followed up or the tests are pending. Further 4 children with Prader-Willi syndrome were diagnosed at neonatology clinics after a dedicated symposium at a national meeting and commenced GH treatment at the age of 5.7±5.7 (11 months to 12.5 years).
GrowInform created friendly and positive media environment and the general number of growth referrals increased. In 2017, 13 children who started GH treatment were 12.5% of all treated; in 2018 the new patients were 37, 29.4% of all treated. The age at start of therapy decreased from 8.7±5.8 years in 2016 to 7.3±3.3 in 2018. Children with rare syndromes received definitive diagnosis and treatment (3 children with SilverRussell syndrome, 5 with Prader-Willi syndrome, 3 with Turner syndrome, one 45X0/46XY boy, 2 with Noonan and 1 with Leopard syndrome, a pseudohypoparathyroidism family, etc.).
Conclusion: GrowInform campaign was an effective tool to improve growth deviations diagnosis and treatment. To prolong the campaign effect, a strategy for publication of educational and growth patient material is under development.
19 - 21 Sep 2019
European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology