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Now, health on call!

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MUMBAI: What if you called a friend and heard a celebrity sharing health tips instead of the usual caller tune? Would you get annoyed, give a good ear or better still, make it your own to spread awareness.

Well, Leo Burnett and World Health Organisation (WHO) certainly seem to think you will change your caller tune. Which is why the duo has created a campaign titled ‘Donate your Caller Tune’ which lets you hear health advice from a celebrity and activate the same on your mobile phone in a bid to keep up the good work.

The initiative, being promoted on digital platforms, covers 12 diseases with 12 celebrities talking about them, including the likes of Amitabh Bachchan, John Abraham, Cyrus Broacha, Parineeti Chopra and Shankar Mahadevan.

Easily the world’s biggest mobile health campaign, ‘Donate your Caller Tune’ has been kicked off in India and will travel to other countries only after strengthening base here.

So why was India chosen as the launch pad? Because non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are presently the leading cause of death across the globe and in 2008, India alone accounted for 53 per cent of all such deaths worldwide. Also because India has a record 600 million mobile phone users and WHO aims to reach all of them through this campaign.

WHO India representative Dr Nata Menabde says: “Donate Your Caller Tune is an idea where people take responsibility and ownership to spread awareness of health concerns voluntarily. To us, this simple idea of using a caller tune to create mass awareness appealed a lot when presented by Leo Burnett. Caller tunes are very popular in India and it made perfect sense to leverage the power of the mobile phone to create awareness about health issues.”

Leo Burnett NCD K V Sridhar who himself suffers from diabetes, believes the campaign will benefit millions. “Diabetes runs in my family so when I got a chance to educate people, I jumped on it,” he says, giving the example of actor Imran Khan who chose to become an ambassador for cancer awareness because he lost his near and dear ones to the disease. “I usually get 40-50 calls in a day and I’m sure others do too. So, instead of hearing a song or a joke, wouldn’t it be better if we created awareness about various health related issues by donating our calling tunes for the cause?” he questions.

Apart from roping in 12 celebrities, the other herculean task for Leo Burnett was to get all mobile service providers on board. The campaign was launched in November last year with just two service providers VSNL and Airtel and it is only now that others have joined the fray.

People interested in participating need to SMS their service provider to activate the caller tune for the cause they wish to support and spread awareness about. Charges vary as per the service provider.

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