photo credit: BRAC
By Sally Theobald, 11 October 2013
Wikipedia declares BRAC to be the largest Non Governmental Organisation in the World, based on how many people it employs and the number of people it has helped. BRAC is present in all 64 districts of Bangladesh as well as in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Haiti and The Philippines and has offices in the UK and the USA. The James P. Grant School of Public Health (JPGSPH) was established in 2004 and its founding members are BRAC, BRAC University and icddr,b. JPGSPH draws on these founding members – or institutional pillars – to inform and enrich its programmes and activities, which include research, education, leadership and advocacy. JPGSPH has over 200 members of staff and a vibrant MPH programme which attracts students from Bangladesh and all over the world.
Close-to-community providers and menstrual regulation
I have just spent a week at JPGSPH with Hermen Ormel from KIT, in a REACHOUT analysis workshop for looking at qualitative data on the role of - and interactions between - formal and informal close–to-community (CTC) providers. JPGSPH have focused their work on sexual and reproductive health (and in particular menstrual regulation) in 2 sites in Dhaka and 2 sites in Sylhet district. Menstrual regulation is a procedure that uses manual vacuum aspiration to safely establish nonpregnancy up to 8-10 weeks after a missed period. Research by icddr,b concluded that,
“The provision of menstrual regulation averts unsafe abortion and associated maternal morbidity and mortality, and on a per case basis, saves scarce health system resources. Increasing access to menstrual regulation would enable more women to obtain much-needed care and health system resources to be utilized more efficiently.”
Building capacity through South-South technical assistance
JPGSPH leads on REACHOUT capacity building work under the direction of Prof. Malabika Sarker –Director of Research - and Yamin Jahinger. A key activity in REACHOUT capacity building is South-south technical assistance to ensure that we build on the strengths and experience of all partners in designing, implementing and evaluating the quality improvement cycles that we will undertake to strengthen CTC services. There are a number of work areas where JPGSPH have exciting lessons to share. These include:
A week at JPGSH and BRAC left me feeling excited about the potential of south-south technical assistance in the REACHOUT journey.
This project is funded by the European Union.