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Continence Week Report

The New Zealand Continence Association held their annual awareness week campaign which is run as a part of World Continence Week from the 24th to 30th of June. The theme was “good bowel and bladder habits for everyone”. The approach of the campaign was to increase awareness of the services of the NZCA and encourage incontinence sufferers to seek treatment. A particular focus was primary aged children and the NZCA was promoting two new educational story books, “A Wee Secret” and “Poo-Hoo”, during the awareness week. The NZCA also made available to all primary schools, the new “Toilet Tactics” kit; therefore another focus was promoting this kit to schools. The approach and objectives of the campaign were achieved in many different ways.

Child continence nurse and author of the books Jacqueline Brown was on the TVNZ Good Morning show during awareness week along with Dr Bobby Tsang, a child continence expert and paediatrician from the North Shore hospital. They were on the show to promote the two books and raise awareness of the NZCA and its services to encourage people to get help rather than suffer from incontinence.

Communication with primary school was an important component of the campaign. Approximately 1250 primary schools across New Zealand received a newsletter two weeks ahead of awareness week to inform them of the upcoming week and provide information about the kit and the books. The same schools then received an awareness week pack with posters promoting the awareness week. The pack also contained a letter with information on how to order the Toilet Tactics kit on CD, the books and further promoting the NZCA initiatives. Basically the same information was sent to public libraries across the country with the omission of information about the Toilet Tactics kit.

Information about awareness week was promoted well through community notices on Newstalk ZB, Classic Hits, Coast and Easy Mix radio stations. A digital campaign was also executed through The Radio Network websites. This involved a banner with information about awareness week and the continence helpline being created and then featured each day on The Radio Network websites.

Three different media releases were written and dispersed to different media. The first was a fairly general release letting people know about awareness week and the plans. It was also informing people of the services of the NZCA and encouraging incontinence sufferers to seek help. This release was sent to all community newspapers. The second was a release about the reading morning held at Island Bay School and was sent with photos to community/daily newspapers in Wellington along with internet media. The third was about a lack of funding for child continence services and was sent to all daily newspapers and internet media. The amount of press releases was deliberately kept to a minimum so we were not saturating the media and only sending material that was truly newsworthy. Social media was also used with a facebook and twitter page being created for the NZCA and updated/monitored before, during and after awareness week. Information about awareness week was also listed on several health websites.

A “reading morning” was held at Island Bay School in Wellington and involved, Dame Kate Harcourt reading “A Wee Secret” and “Poo-Hoo” to a year three class at the school during awareness week. This was a great activity and both Dame Kate and the children had some very positive comments about the books.

Four book giveaway competitions were run through different media. This involved offering books to select media to giveaway during awareness week. All competitions were successful with many entrants through each publication.

Thirty-two Primary Health Organisations were contacted to send information to their member practises/general practitioners to inform them of the NZCA and its services. In the experience of the NZCA, GPs in New Zealand have often not known where to refer patients with continence issues so this information was sent to PHO’s to send on in newsletters to their member practises and also to patients.

World Continence Week 24 - 30 June 2012

If you would like the 'Toilet Tactics Kit' on  disc please email

Good bladder and bowel habits for everyone

The countdown to the 2012 national awareness week is on. Sunday the 24th marks the start of the week and at the New Zealand Continence Association we are all very busy and excited.

The theme is “good bladder and bowel habits for everyone” with one focus being primary aged children. The approach is to address incontinence in New Zealand through education. We want to make sure that New Zealander’s out there know about the NZCA and make use of our free helpline, resources, and continence advisors if they need help to overcome incontinence.

This year we are celebrating the launch of two very special books. “A Wee Secret” and “Poo-hoo” have been created by NZCA and child continence nurse Jacqueline Brown and two illustrators (one an ex Disney illustrator). The books are fun, entertaining and extremely informative and we believe that every library should have them on their shelf. They really are fantastic books which provide an opportunity for children to discuss these sensitive issues and a section of information for parents to learn how to and when to seek help for their children. The books are available to order from our resource section. We are excited to announce that Jacqueline will appear on TVNZ’s Good Morning Show next Tuesday (24th) to talk about the books along with paediatrician and child continence expert Dr Bobby Tsang. They will be on the show together at 10.20am, please take the opportunity to hear invaluable information from these two experts.

The NZCA is pleased to offer free to every primary school in New Zealand a wonderful new Toilet Tactics kit. The aim of the kit is to raise awareness of healthy bladder and bowel habits in schools and to improve or maintain the standard of school toilets across New Zealand. It really is a great kit with information for students, parents and teachers on how to have healthy bladder and bowel habits which can be incorporated into classroom activities for health education. There are checklists and guidelines for maintaining school toilets, fun activities for students such as crosswords, word finds and much more! Toilet Tactics has the potential to improve bladder and bowel health of students and provides them with a unique learning opportunity to take ownership and responsibility of school property. Best of all it doesn’t need to cost any money! This is the best way for your school to be involved in our awareness week so if your school hasn’t already taken up the Toilet Tactics challenge get in touch with to get your own DVD copy.

Every primary school across the country as well as many New Zealand libraries will have received a newsletter from us in the past week but do look out for an awareness week pack which should reach your school or community library early next week. This pack includes fabulous posters and further information regarding our new books and our Toilet Tactics kit.

Encourage your school or local library to get involved with the awareness week and support us with these new initiatives. If you have any questions regarding this year’s awareness week please don’t hesitate to get in contact with or 021 141 1861 b

NZCA is now on facebook and twitter. Find us and like our page at and follow us on twitter!/NZContinence .

If you know someone suffering from incontinence please direct them to our website for help or tell them to call our helpline 0800 650 659

Awareness Week plans underway

The New Zealand Continence Association is preparing for their national annual awareness week to be run from the 24th to the 30th of June this year.

Awareness week is run as a part of World Continence Awareness Week and this year is promoting “good bowel and bladder habits for everyone” with an additional focus on primary aged children with incontinence issues such as wetting and soiling both during the day and night.

“The issue of continence in children has received little attention in the past and parents and teachers are often confused at what age the child should be when they seek help,” says CEO of the New Zealand Continence Association, Jan Zander.

The approach of awareness week will be to promote good bladder and bowel habits for every age group through education and make people aware of free continence services.

The NZ Continence Association will introduce a ‘Toilet Tactics’ kit into schools. This will raise awareness of healthy bladder and bowel habits and help to improve the standard of school toilets across NZ.

This kit provides useful information that teachers can incorporate into classroom activities for health education.

The Association will promote two books they have created with child continence nurse, Jacqueline Brown, which will be launched during awareness week titled ‘A Wee Secret’ and ‘Poo Hoo’. These high quality cartoon style storybooks will provide an opportunity for children to discuss these sensitive issues along with a section of parent information.

With good bladder and bowel health information large numbers of people could be spared continence problems in the future that cause embarrassment and tend to take control of a person’s life.

What are the warning signs of bladder control problems?

- Wet yourself when you cough, laugh or sneeze (even tiny amounts)

- An urgent need to pass urine, being unable to hold or get to the toilet on time

- Go to the toilet more than 5-8 times in 24 hours

- Get up more than once at night

- Go to the toilet ‘just in case’

- Wet the bed after the age of 7 yrs

- Difficulty starting or stopping the stream of urine or when it stops and starts

- Straining to start urine

- A feeling that the bladder is not empty once urine is passed

- A burning discomfort while passing urine

- Pushing or straining to pass a bowel motion or any change in your regular pattern that causes concern.

- Unable to control wind


For free information pamphlets on a range of continence topics and list of free continence services phone 0800 650 659