Performance graduates from the University of Salford caused a stir at Manchester Pride last weekend when they danced through the crowd dressed as cats to encourage young women to get cervical screen tests.
The dancers were supporting the ‘Cat That Got the Screen’ campaign which was launched by the NHS and University of Salford to reach the one in three women aged between 24 and 29 in the North West who are not being screened.
The web and social media campaign aims to deliver some very serious messages in humorous and creative ways that will appeal to young people, using cat-based viral content such as photos and videos to persuade young women to book a test.
Cats from the dance theatre Reforma interacted with the crowd during Saturday’s parade through Manchester city centre, creating flashmobs and giving out leaflets to tackle the common misconception that gay and bisexual women do not need cervical screening.
Maria Rossall-Allan, of the School of Nursing, Midwifery & Social Care, said: “Taking part in Manchester Pride was a fun way of reaching gay and bisexual women with our campaign, and hopefully some of the straight women that were there too.”
The campaign follows other digital health initiatives involving Salford. One created a mobile phone app to help the Brook Centre in Manchester promote sexual health to young men, while another in collaboration with the Lesbian and Gay Foundation to encourage cervical screening among gay and bisexual women was so successful that it has been taken forward as a national initiative.
Women aged 24-29 are asked to take part in an online survey and will have the chance to win various prizes, including £150 in shopping vouchers. Details can be found at: http://www.thecatthatgotthescreen.org