Mayer Hashi Program
The project Mayer Hashi, translates as mother’s smile, focuses on the fertility of women. Lack of knowledge surrounding maternal health and contraception led to the inception of Mayer Hashi in 2009, undertaken by the GoB involving the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), EngenderHealth, BCCP, JHU-CCP and Population Council, with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)/Dhaka. This project was implemented in three low performing divisions of Sylhet, Chittagong and Barisal, aiming to provide extensive contraceptive options, with emphasis on Long-Acting and/or Permanent Methods (LA/PM) ofcontraception through Behavior Change Communication (BCC).
National Level Campaign
The National Family Planning Advisory Committee meeting was held in order to present the final draft of the National LA/PM Strategy and BCC Strategic Approach where Mayer Hashi developed the LA/PM BCC Campaign Guideline, a summary of the LA/PM BCC Strategic Approach. A highly publicized media event, the National BCC Campaign, was organized on 5 May 2011 with 640 key central level stakeholders. The speakers included the Honorable Minister and the State Minister of MoH&FW, the US Ambassador to Bangladesh and the Secretary of MoH&FW.
The national LA/PM campaign was developed to position LA/PM as a method of choice for those men and women who would like to opt for longer spacing and limiting, and designed to support and reinforce the local level campaign messages. A TV spot with LA/PM positioning message, a poster and a six-episode reality show were developed, internally reviewed, tested, and aired through television channels.
Local Level Campaign
This project year Mayer Hashi was launched through festive events in 12 areas in the three designated divisions. Among the participants were government officials, Upazila level elected members of local government, civil society members, NGO representatives, religious leaders and clients, chaired by the Deputy Commissioner of the respective district. Speeches, statements of commitment, street drama, folk songs and screening of the LA/PM video documentary were all used as communication tools and service providers were provided with LA/PM BCC printed materials.
To help motivate and encourage people to move the initiatives forward, champions were formed from all levels including healthcare providers, religious and community leaders, satisfied clients and MOH&FW officials. Their role was significant in advocacy and demand activities. Satisfied clients were selected as champions and encouraged to get actively involved in the BCC campaign to create an enabling environment at the community level.
For dissemination purposes, a variety of BCC materials were developed by BCCP comprising FP Flipchart, Interactive Guidebook, Roman Banner, and LA/PM Leaflet which were distributed at the Upazilas of the districts where the BCC campaign was launched.
Orientation of field workers was organized in five districts involving a total of 2,523 health and family planning field workers and 143 NGO field staff that received training. These sessions have been extended to seven districts. Orientation sessions were also organized on effective communication that focused on post-partum family planning (PPFP).
To raise awareness at the local level, a national drama team was chosen to train local teams in various locations. A total of 200 shows were performed at the union level in eight districts, with a total of 114,795 people attending. The performances were followed by discussions about LA/PM or PPFP facilitated by local Family Welfare Assistants.
With the aim to support the local peers of Mayer Hashi who work with young men and women in 5 selected Upazila of Patuakhali district to raise awareness, Mayer Hashi developed a Peer Guideline and provided them with BCC materials to start their activities, such as one-to-one meetings and group discussions in February 2011. In addition, the peers have referred 1,894 FP clients with a majority of women with one child.
Mayer Hashi implemented a specific PPFP BCC campaign, with a community engagement component, in five Upazilas of Barisal, one Upazila of Comilla as well as the Sadar Upazilas of 15 intervention districts. Similar to the LA/PM BCC local level campaign, the PPFP BCC campaign included launching program, fieldworker orientation, street drama, BCC materials and interactive activities facilitated by the trained providers/fieldworkers.
To integrate PPFP into Maternal and Child Health Services, 447 Community Clinic Support Group (CSG) members from 113 Community Clinics were oriented about their role in creating an enabling environment and linking the community with the facility.
Young Married Couple
Through a peer-led program, Young Married Couples (YMCs), young men and women were provided with information on all FP methods, focusing on LA methods for couples with one child and thus strengthening the enabling environment for this.
To reach communities with messages about LA/PM, create dialogue and contribute to making the use of LA/PM a social norm, Upazila and Union Parishad members were involved in LA/PM advocacy in the next project year. Reaching out to many mothers in deprived communities,BCCP professionals worked diligently to ensure mothers were informed about contraception and empowered to be able to take such life-changing decisions.