Bangladesh’s first national comprehensive social and behavior change communication (SBCC) strategy for its Health, Nutrition and Population (HPN) sector was officially released Aug. 30 at an event in Dhaka.
The event was organized with technical assistance from Bangladesh Knowledge Management Initiative (BKMI). BKMI is jointly implemented by USAID’s global Health Communication Capacity Collaborative (HC3) – based at the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs (CCP) – and the Bangladesh Center for Communication Programs (BCCP).
Attended by a large number of SBCC professionals and policymakers representing different government, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), private and donor agencies, the event was chaired by Mohammad Wahid Hossain, Bangladesh’s Director General of Family Planning, who thanked BKMI, HC3 and BCCP for their continued support. Other dignitaries were in attendance including Roxana Quader, the Additional Secretary with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW).
Quader noted that the comprehensive SBCC strategy was developed in a highly participatory process and promotes more effective implementation of high-quality SBCC activities throughout Bangladesh. This strategy is a “pathway towards a theory-based, consistent, coordinated and audience-specific SBCC,” she said.
Quader expressed her gratitude to BKMI for its critical role in conceptualizing the content of the strategy, developing the initial draft and finalizing it with key stakeholders from different ministries and directorates, international and national NGOs, private and donor organizations.
Joint Secretary Md Abdul Malek said the strategy will “bring HPN SBCC in Bangladesh under one umbrella so that we can work more planned, coordinated and consistent way avoiding duplication.” He urged all stakeholders to follow and use this strategy as it will guide the SBCC activities of the next sector program and align SBCC efforts of government, NGOs, development partners and other stakeholders. Although it was prepared for the HPN sector, other ministries and organizations conducting SBCC can also use it, he added.
During an open discussion period at the event, stakeholders shared their feelings and comments on the strategy, with one noting that more harmonized SBCC activities will lead to improving the overall well-being of the people of Bangladesh.