Bangladesh

FWA counsels clients using netbook

Sabita Rani Das has been working as a FWA in Sylhet District for the last 23 years. Until very recently her story was like any other FWA – walking from door to door to counsel clients, doing satellite clinics a serving community peoples. Sabita’s story line has changed, now Sabita has the power of knowledge, just a click away!

 
The Bangladesh Knowledge Management Initiative (BKMI) seeks to strengthen sustainable knowledge management (KM) and communication initiatives through innovations, strong partnerships, capacity building, and appropriate technology within the population, health, and nutrition (PHN) areas. The programaims to facilitate knowledge capture, synthesis, and sharing among key stakeholders, including healthcare providers, health program managers and behavior change agents. 
BKMI is collaborating with multiple tiers of the Bangladesh Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW) to increase access, comprehension, and application of PHN behavior change communication (BCC) knowledge and resources.
 
  • In the central level, BKMI has placed international and local advisors in three MOHFW units to strengthen capacity for program managers and planners in BCC and KM programming. These units include (1) the Information Education Motivation unit of the Directorate General of Family Planning, (2) the Institute of Population Health and Nutrition, and (3) the Bureau of Health Education (the latter two are part of the Directorate General of Health Services). These three units all produce and disseminate BCC materials. Advisors have worked with their respective MOHFW counterparts daily to provide guidance on developing, delivering, monitoring, and evaluating integrated PHN BCC. In partnership with MOHFW colleagues, advisors will also identify skill gaps in BCC programming at the individual and unit level, and develop and deliver capacity-building activities that fill those gaps sustainably.
  • In the community level, BKMI has developed digital resources for 300 health and family planning field workers to aid their client-centered counseling and supplement their knowledge in key PHN technical areas. Resources included an eToolkit and eight eLearning courses, which were customized for offline use—therefore scalable in resource-limited settings. The K4Health-supported eToolkit will enable field workers to access a digitized repository of existing "gold standard" BCC materials to support their counseling needs. For example, if a fieldworker is meeting with an expecting mother, they can refer to any relevant MNCH or nutrition material in the eToolkit. The video-based eLearning courses cover key PHN technical areas along with interpersonal communication and integrated messaging. Courses present engaging scenarios for proper counseling services and can be taken in a self-directed pace. These efforts will be monitored in a three-month eHealth pilot in two low-performing districts, Chittagong and Sylhet. 
BKMI has also spearheaded a BCC Working Group with government, non-governmental, and donor entities to work toward a Communication Implementation Framework that would coordinate and harmonize in PHN message development and delivery.
 
Accomplishments:
  • Placed international and local advisors in three central-level MOHFW units for capacity strengthening in BCC and KM
  • Developed and implemented capacity building plans for three MOHFW units that included key indicators in BCC and KM strengthening 
  • Conducted four workshops for three MOHFW Units, national NGO counterparts, and local donor affiliates relating to communication alignment, message and materials development, and monitoring & evaluation
  • Developed a PHN BCC eToolkit and eight video-based eLearning courses for community-level providers  
  • Delivered netbook computers along with training on digital resources to 300 MOHFW field workers for an ongoing eHealth pilot 
  • Brokered GOB recognition and formalization of a BCC Working Group
  • Completed a Handbook for Health Journalists that will later be developed into a toolkit 
Project Duration: July 2011 – September 2013
 
Funding: USAID through a buy-in from the Bangladesh Mission
 
Global Partners: USAID, FHI 360, Management Sciences for Health (MSH)
 
Country Partners: USAID/Bangladesh, Bangladesh Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Bangladesh Center for Communication Programs, and MSH