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!

 

Background

Within the Bangladesh Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW), distinct government units design social and behavior change communication (SBCC) activities covering three different aspects of health: 1) maternal and child health; 2) population; and 3) nutrition. Despite best efforts at coordination, SBCC activities within the three different units resulted in conflicting or duplicative messages for health workers and families. In addition, an initial assessment also found that capacity for SBCC within each of the ministry units was low. Ultimately, this resulted in confusion and misunderstanding about essential health information. Among government field workers, there was a need for information and stronger counseling skills to communicate integrated health, population, and nutrition messages to clients.

Bangladesh Knowledge Management Initiative

K4Health, through the Bangladesh Knowledge Management Initiative (BKMI), worked closely with MOHFW in Bangladesh to identify issues and solutions within the SBCC program, using a multi-tiered approach.

  • In partnership with MOHFW colleagues at the national level, BKMI advisors identified skill gaps in SBCC programming at the individual and unit level, and developed and delivered capacity-building activities that sustainably filled those gaps.
  • BKMI also spearheaded a Behavior Change Communication (BCC) Working Group with government, non-governmental, and donor entities to work toward a communication implementation framework that would coordinate and harmonize population, health, and nutrition (PHN) message development and delivery.
  • At the community level, BKMI developed digital resources for 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 enabled 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.