October 2016, Dhaka, Bangladesh - “I want to thank Malaria Consortium for giving us their brains.”
So said Professor Dr. A K M Shamsuzzaman, Director of the Disease Control and Line Director, Communicable Disease Control Department of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), at the end of a three-day training-of-trainers from the Bangladesh Ministry of Health.
For the first time in Bangladesh, Malaria Consortium, in collaboration with icddr,b, conducted a training that brought together two different divisions within the DGHS: Family Welfare and Communicable Diseases, which is also home to Bangladesh’s National Malaria Control Programme. The integration of both divisions and their expertise will leverage the success of this UK aid funded project as the training provided new knowledge and skills. The focus was on training staff from Union Welfare Clinics and family welfare staff who currently have access to communities in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, one of the last remaining malaria endemic parts of Bangladesh.
The participatory training focused on how to diagnose, test and treat malaria as well as improve interpersonal communication, supervision and training skills. It was developed and delivered by Malaria Consortium and involved interactive practical learning sessions for 29 medical doctors and family planning officers who will now become trainers themselves. The selected trainers will pass on their knowledge to 60 sub-assistant community medical officers, family welfare assistants and family welfare visitors during two cascade trainings to be held in Bandarban in the border area of the Chittagong Hill Tracts. Subsequently, three supervision visits will help to collect data on the efficacy of the training and follow-up visits to produce a workforce who can deliver quality assured care to their clients and make recommendations for scaling up the intervention to the DGHS.
Reflecting the importance of the training, the DGHS held a ceremony for the three-day event which was attended by dignitaries including Dr. Shimul Koli Hossain, Program Manager at A & RH, Mother and Child Health (MCH) Services Unit, Directorate General of Family Planning, DGFP, Dr. Abu Nayeem Mohammad Sohel, Evaluator for Malaria with the National Malaria Control Programme, Dr. Muhammad Sharif, Director MCH Services and Line Director, MCRAH, Dr. SM Akhtaruzzaman Deputy Programme Manager, NMCP, Dr. Wasif Ali Khan, icddr,b and as well as Prof. Shamsuzzaman.
In an interview given to Bangladeshi television, Dr. Prudence Hamade, Malaria Consortium Senior Technical Adviser, said “The integration of expertise of both divisions is unique in the Bangladeshi health landscape. Combining this expertise with a practical learning approach will help health workers to address malaria effectively in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, especially among pregnant women and children who are very vulnerable to malaria infection and at present underserved by existing health services.”