CHCs discovered in Bangladesh

November, 2011

Dr. Juilet Waterkeyn

It is always a pleasure to read that our ideas have transferred to other countries without the direct advocacy of Africa AHEAD as this means the CHC approach is taking root and spreading of its own accord.

At a recent meeting at the Gates Foundation, Seattle,  for Achieving Lasting Impact at Scale: Behaviour Change and the Spread of Family Health Innovations in Low-Income countries, I met the Director of Bangladesh Center for Communication Programs, Mohammad Shahjahan, who shared his 2009-2010 Annual Report. Of the many initiatives that are being undertaken in Bangladesh I was delighted to read the following (page.25.):

Community Health Clubs:

‘The concept of the Community Health Club (CHC) was devised to extend the reach of the frontline service providers of the clinics by using the social network approach to attain increased customer flow at the service delivery sites, through community mobilisation, thereby contributing to the sustainability of the clinics.

Under this program, 4 clinics each from Rajshahi, Bogra, Cox’s Bazar and Dhaka piloted the concept of the health club. A total of 129 clubs were established in 129 satellite clinic catchment areas.  Of these, a total of 65 clubs have been monitored. Meetings with club members were held to motivate them to play an active role in the club. The piloting clinics reported that a considerable number of customers have been mobilised through CHCs. A total of 4,282 customers had been referred by the members of the clubs, resulting in a threefold increase of revenue earned during the piloting period. The enthusiasm, interest and initiaitives of the clinic managers played a vital role in the success of this timely intervention. This concept has worked better in rural clinics than in those situated in the metropolitan areas.’

We hope to discover more of how this project has been implemented as obviously the adaptation of the Model for Bangladesh has resulted in a welcome new role for members of community health clubs, as a support for the local health service. It would be interesting to know more about the impact on family health as a result of the CHC support for clinics, rather than how they have been able to raise the demand for clinics.