On October 31, 2011, three babies were born in a small clinic in the Bangladeshi town of Cox’s Bazar, on the Bay of Bengal. Their names are Kaneta (a girl), Kulsoma (a boy), and Halima (a girl). It’s quite possible that one of them is the seven billionth person on the planet.
Today marks the last of seven whirlwind days for me in Bangladesh, a country that never seems to stop. It is of course crowded—among the most densely populated countries in the world—and an appropriate place to mark the estimated date when the global population reached 7 billion people. The cacophony of honking horns and construction never seems to end. But neither does the progress.
Six days ago, I arrived in Dhaka to work with K4Health’s exciting new initiative here, the Bangladesh Knowledge Management Initiative (BKMI). The Government of Bangladesh (GOB), with support from USAID, has asked that K4Health leverage its global, regional, and country-based experiences using Knowledge Management and Exchange (KME) principles to help improve the delivery of key integrated messaging for health workers across three main areas: Family Planning and Reproductive Health (FP/RH), Maternal and Child Health (MCH), and Nutrition. As part of the project, K4Health is fielding three technical advisors who will sit within the associated GOB offices to provide them day-to-day technical assistance and capacity building in communication and KME. Specifically, K4Health will assist GOB staff with collection, coordination, synthesis, and application of FP/RH, MCH, and Nutrition messaging that has been shown to motivate healthier behaviors. Further, in line with K4Health’s information communication technology (ICT) innovations, we will support GOB in its vision for a “Digital Bangladesh” by using appropriate technologies to disseminate behavior change communication (BCC) messaging, including our online and offline electronic Toolkits application, eLearning courses, netbooks, and messaging delivered over mobile phones.