By Victoria Scott
Healthcare officials in Qatar have launched a new social media campaign that uses a popular online meme to urge residents to eat healthier and think positively.
The campaign is loosely based on Bill, a cartoon who always chooses the sensible, pragmatic option when faced with a modern dilemma.
One of his earliest iterations was, “Bill is on the internet. Bill sees something that offends him. Bill moves on. Bill is smart. Be like Bill.”
Inspired by the meme, Qatar’s Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) has been using it to promote positive health messages in the country.
The group runs some two dozen health centers in Qatar, and has centered its new campaign around Rashid’s family (#rashid_family).
The cartoon Qatari family unit was created by the organization in 2014 to use on campaign posters.
In the first of the two cartoons shared so far, the youngest member of the family, one-year-old Hayat, is seen drinking plain milk, with the line: “Hayat is a healthy child, be like HAYAT.”
And in the second, 45-year-old doctor Rashid, Hayat’s father, is pictured at his desk.
Rashid has a “beaming smile” at work, apparently due to his optimistic approach to life. Readers are urged to “be like Rashid.”
The PHCC has not yet responded to Doha News’ request for comment on the campaign.
But it comes as officials are working to improve the physical and mental health of the population.
Some 42.3 percent of adults in Qatar are obese — the highest rate in the Gulf (which has an average of 36.7 percent).
And an increasing number of children in Qatar are also obese, putting them at risk of getting a host of diseases, including diabetes.
Meanwhile, around 18 percent of people in Qatar suffer from depression.
A series of community mental health centers are in the works to help tackle the stigma surrounding mental health and boost care for residents.
What do you think of the posters? Thoughts?