Marketing Innovation for Health (MIH)
MIH is a four-year project that started in July 2012 under a cooperative agreement with USAID. SMC is implementing this integrated social marketing program along with several local and international partners, to help bring about behavior change and improve health practices, increase access to and use of family planning products including Long Acting Reversible Contraceptive methods, Reproductive Health and Nutritional products, and improve the capacity of community based health practitioners in the private sector. The program is implementing community mobilization activities in 19 low-performing districts of Bangladesh. In addition, it includes national distribution and communication of existing SMC products as well as several new innovations through the private sector. SMC partners in the project include BRAC, Concerned Women for Family Development (CWFD), Population Services and Training Centre (PSTC) and Shimantik. Engender Health and PSI are associated as training and technical partners respectively. Under MIH, SMC is implementing a large health communications program with focused messaging on five core communication areas as follows:
• Healthy Timing and Spacing of Pregnancies
• First 1000 Days of a Child’s life (from conception to 2 years of age)
• Healthy Pregnancy
• Adolescent Health
• TB Prevention and Management
The program will also expand SMC’s network of Blue Star providers and build capacity of formal and non-formal health providers through basic and refreshers training.
The NGO Health Service Delivery Project (NHSDP)
SMC is a partner along with several NGOs in the USAID funded National Health Service Delivery Program (NHSDP) implemented by Pathfinder International as the prime. This four year contract that started in December 2012 aims at expanding and improving services through the Smiling Sun health delivery outlets. The project will achieve three intermediate results that include expanded client base especially quality ESP for the poor, improved healthy behavior and care seeking practice through behavior change communication and knowledge management, enhanced local ownership of service and strengthened institutional capacity of local partner NGOs.
SMC, as a subcontractor is providing technical assistance to the partners and NGOs to develop and implement their strategic plan for increasing and utilizing program income, strengthening collaboration with corporate bodies and creating a network of branded Shurjer Hashi pharmacy outlets income from which will help expand and sustain program development activities.
HIV/AIDS Prevention Project – Modhumita
In 1995, SMC launched “Shurockkha” program for awareness and prevention of STIs and HIV/AIDS with direct funding from USAID. Program activities included community sensitization through IPC, advocacy and promotion of condoms. In 2005, SMC started receiving support from the Bangladesh AIDS Program (BAP), a USAID-funded project managed by FHI 360, which later became the Modhumita project. This five-year agreement that started in October, 2009 will end in July 2014.
Under Modhumita, SMC offers a variety of services including Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT ) through Modhumita Health Centers for the diagnosis of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and TB diagnosis. In addition, the centers now help clients find their blood group through blood testing. Under the partnership, SMC also provides support to FHI in the procurement of condoms, lubricating gel and their distribution though the network of Modhumita Health Centers.
Infant and Young Child Nutrition (IYCN) – Home Fortification (Phase 2) Program
SMC has recently signed an agreement with Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) to develop a comprehensive Behavior Change Communication (BCC) strategy along with a set of IEC materials to create demand for home fortification solutions in Bangladesh and improve feeding practices of children under the age of 5. Funded by the Children Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), SMC’s work under this project is expected to continue for at least three years.
The overall objective of this project is to improve feeding practices of under-5 children in Bangladesh and reduce micronutrient deficiencies with a comprehensive IYCN approach including home fortification with Micronutrient Powders (MNPs).
Experts in this field agree that if awareness level on MNPs can be increased significantly and the product can be appropriately positioned with the right messages to the right audiences, the demand for MNPs will rise sharply and will make an impact on the overall nutritional and health status of the infant and young children of the country.