Strategic Communication for Health in Bangladesh

K4Health Highlights

Sidhartha Deka

Formerly CCP | Program Officer

As a part of the Bangladesh Knowledge Management Initiative’s (BKMI) capacity building efforts with three government units in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW), I helped facilitate a Message and Materials Design Workshop outside of the capital Dhaka January 6-9, 2013. BKMI’s in-country partner Bangladesh Center for Communication Programs (BCCP) organized the workshop.

BKMI Strategic Communication Workshop Participants

Participants on the last day of the BKMI/BCCP Strategic Communication Workshop in Bangladesh

Participants included staff from the MOHFW units, NGOs, and copywriters and artists from advertising agencies. Sessions in the workshop covered the importance of strategic communication through the message development process. In her opening remarks, BKMI team leader Vanessa Mitchell encouraged participants to be creative and collaborative in their approach toward creating messages that are coordinated and cross-sectoral within the realm of health, population, and nutrition (HPN).

In order to practice the message development process, we split participants into three groups to work on a set of SBCC messages for three important issues: antenatal care, complementary feeding, and early marriage. It was inspiring to see group members adapt key concepts in strategic communication, including the P-Process, the 7 C’s in Communication and the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Appropriate, Realistic, Time-bound) Guidelines for developing message objectives.

After finishing their creative brief, group members worked with their artists to draft materials. Materials included flash cards, billboards, and television spots that promoted the given issues. The drafted materials were then pre-tested with surrounding communities after participants practiced moderating a focus-group discussion. The groups finally presented their findings to all participants on the workshop’s last day.

I am looking forward to build on the results of this workshop with my counterparts in the MOHFW. National-level health communication professionals now have the tools to create rigorous SBCC messaging and a platform to create lasting partnerships across sectors in HPN communication.


Dear Sidhartha DekaThank you for posting this highlight of what sounds like an inspiring and fruitfull event.I am a Lecturer in Global Health from Aarhus University, Denmark, who has been asked to develop a course in Strategic Communication together with colleagues in Ghana.I would very much like to hear more about your workshop also to tap more of your excellent ideas.Hope you will contact me on kallestrup@dadlnet.dkThank you in advance and best regards,Per Kallestrup


Hi Per, 
Thank you for your message. I think gaining familiarity the P-Process framework would be a good start to designing your workshop. This document outlines the P-Process and we generally frame content of our workshops around this framework: 
Would you please tell me about your workshop more? Who are your participants? I would be happy to provide more suggestions or direct you to more resources. 

Hello Sidharta, I'm familiar with the JJHU-CCP procedures and have used them in Northern Nigeria in a water and sanitation project. I've seen them used by JHU specialists in the Bangladesh FP programme. Can you tell me a bit more about the implementation of the new strategy in Bangladesh? I've lived in Bangladesh through communication about FP (pills. condoms and ligation), diarrhoea and ORT, an emphasis on longer term FP methods, safe birth planning and maternal and neonatal danger signs. The challenge I now face is relatively high satisfaction levels on the part of users and staff with poor quality referral services. Although there is a nuanced understanding of the nature of the problems at referral facilities, there is an underlying sense of 'I have to be satisfied with what exists.' To what extent will the strategy address the need for increased voice and accountability on the part of both community members and health and FP staff especially in the periphery?