Client: London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM)



Though totally preventable, syphilis remains a global killer. It is estimated that two million pregnant women are infected with syphilis every year and that over half of these pass it on to their unborn child during pregnancy, which, if untreated, is associated with spontaneous abortion, stillbirth, premature delivery, low birth weight, and perinatal death.

LSHTM conducted research in six countries to screen pregnant women for syphilis using new diagnostic tests. These simple, rapid tests can screen patients in just 15 minutes, allowing on the spot treatment with a single shot of penicillin if needed.

Scope of work

LSHTM appointed Skating Panda to devise a communications strategy on the issue of syphilis and LSHTM’s role in reducing unnecessary deaths from this disease. We created a rapid syphilis test toolkit to ensure a globally consistent approach in tackling the issue.


Rigorous planning, stand-out design and lateral thinking enabled Skating Panda to get the message out to policy makers, funders, in-country programmes and media, assisted by the rapid syphilis test toolkit, which has now reached 31 countries across all five continents. Skating Panda also helped launch the Global Congenital Syphilis Partnership, a new group of key global leaders in health and development who joined forces to champion the fight against congenital syphilis. We are proud to be associated with the partnership and this LSHTM study, which resulted in all countries involved changing national health policy and introducing the test before the research was published.

“We had an excellent experience working with Skating Panda. We found Skating Panda to be very professional, responsive and always on the pulse of latest events. They have access to an impressive list of potential partners and stakeholders with whom they established contact for us. We have learnt a lot about effective communications from Skating Panda.”

Rosanna Peeling – Professor and Chair of Diagnostics Research, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

“The first thing that Skating Panda taught me was I had to have an ‘elevator pitch’. This became the tool that allowed me to get the attention of the Health Minister leading directly to change in policy on diagnostic test coverage for the indigenous population in Brazil.

Adele S Benzaken, health advocate, Latin America


Toolkit image 1_2 Toolkit image 3_1 Toolkit image 4_2