HEALTH AND POPULATION CENTER (HPC)

The Health and Population Center (HPC) is an unit specifically created for developing manpower and the generation of knowledge in the area of health and population sectors for contributing to improved performance in the national health and family welfare efforts by translating the knowledge into an actionable frame of operation. Its basic purpose is to provide effective support to the health and population programs in Bangladesh in particular and health and population issues in general, through research, manpower development, advisory services, and development of appropriate institutional linkages.

OBJECTIVES

The overall objectives of the HPC are the development of knowledge & manpower in health and population sectors and the application of such knowledge in better utilization of the manpower and resources in increasing the effectiveness of national efforts in health and population. More specifically the objectives entail the following:

-Developing conceptual frameworks through research for understanding basic issues in health care and family welfare and evolving program management and operational guidelines and perspectives.

-Helping to create a cadre of professionals in health and population through structured courses of studies.

-Meeting the emergency advisory service needs for program managers, including client orientated research and evaluation of program.

-Documenting the diverse and new knowledge generated at the center and disseminating such knowledge to various bodies engaged in health and population program activities through the documentation and information services.

ACTIVITY FRAME

In order to achieve the objective of the center, various activities have been identified. The mainstream activities of research, manpower development, advisory services, and institutional linkage development are being pursued. The center activity frame may be summarized as follows:

Research

Given the overall objective of the center to develop knowledge in health and population and the application of such knowledge in increasing the effectiveness of national efforts in managing health and population sectors, the creation of such knowledge at the center is focused on generic as well as applied research. In addressing this, the orientation of research activities in the center has been following two complementary approaches which include:

a) developing frameworks for exploration of basic issues which have bearing on health and population program management activities and

b) action oriented research to bring about changes for increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of the current programs and organizations

Fundamental and basic research is required to identify the determinants of demand for health and family planning services and needs as well as to address issues in cognition and motivation.

The main focus of the action oriented research activities is to bring about changes for increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of current health and population programs.

The research activities of the center are expected to make a positive impact by bringing about improved performance and more efficient utilization of manpower and resources along with the development of professional norms within the program activities and goals.

Manpower Development

The manpower development activities in the center are mainly geared toward the development of professionals and managers capable of manning and guiding the country’s health care and family planning efforts through a combination of structured courses of studies, field visits, and project work. The emphasis on developing manpower in the sector stems from the contention of various quarters that operating as well as administrative/managerial expertise need to be substantially enhanced in the context of health and population sector management in the country.

The government’s efforts in the health and population programs which have grown rather rapidly in the last decades, involves over one hundred thousand individuals at various levels of the organization. The manpower complement had to be developed very rapidly to shoulder the responsibilities of vastly expanded program and did not allow the opportunity for rigorous selection procedures. The government program thus employs personnel who need to be developed into more effective change agents for attaining program goals.

Added to the government program personnel are a large number of individuals of private enterprises in health sector and NGOs involved in health and population activities under the innovative, experimental and special group based programs. Then there are the voluntary organizations and community groups involved in health care and population activities. They too represent a significant manpower endeavors to support within its capability. The manpower in these organizations also need development.

The center also offers specially tailored courses for specific clients. Course contents are designed with particular focus on work environment  of participants and task domain. An innovative approach that has been introduced is to involve the participants in miniresearch on problems relating to their work within the organizations context in order to develop analytical and decision making skills. As a result, the sponsoring organization also derives substantive benefits.

The involvement of professional managers having experience in subject matters relating to the learning objectives of the participants, and the introduction of field visits to enable the participants to relate to practices in reality lend further relevance to the manpower development program.

The center offer courses, seminars and workshops on management of health and population issues for different levels of health and family planning officials and managers of government, non-government and private organizations. The center will also organize training for professional staff like nurses, medical assistants, equipment and laboratory technicians etc. and for non-professional personnel like office staff, field personnel, etc. A list of courses that can be offered is provided below for illustration.

The center is committed to several activities in the training domain which include

  • Training needs assessment research
  • Development of standardized training materials and modules for social sector management
  • Providing training support to other institutions and programs
  •  Training of trainers 
  •  Training of managers of health and population activities 
  •  Training of personnel of health & population sector 

Advisory Services

Effective performance of any program requires, among other things, a set of well designed and appropriate management and operating systems, a group of experts to develop and design these systems, and a set of capable managers and operators to operate and maintain these systems competently. It has been recognized that improved systems are very much needed in the health and population sectors for ensuring effective operations. Although in the recent past, some attention has been given to enhancing the capabilities and skills of managers, and operators, initiatives in developing management and operating systems are still lacking. Furthermore, the policy makers, program managers and operators are so busy with the tasks of day to day management or operations of the programs that they have hardly any time for systems development. It is with this realization that the center endeavors to provide assistance to policy makers, program managers and operators through its advisory services.

The advisory service activities are basically directed towards meeting the needs of the organizations in terms of system identification, design and implementation through a process of interaction and exchange of ideas. The issues that are addressed range from evaluation and problem solving tasks to system development exercises.

Within the overall domain the center takes the initiative to delineate and propose advisory services in various areas to obtain reactions of the managers or operators and to help them shape their felt needs in more concrete terms.

The center will entertain requests from both government, non-government and private organizations for advisory services in areas including program evaluation, organizational evaluation, management information system, personnel appraisal system, staff development program, project appraisal and evaluation, financial control mechanism, contraceptive prevalence survey, supervisory systems in health and population, among others.

HPC resource person provided advisory services for two months to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MHFW) on reorganization of health and family planning service delivery. The task involved development of TOR for Reorganization under the Fourth Health and Population Project of the World Bank funneled through the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA).

Institutional Linkage Development

In its institutional linkage development efforts, the HPC strives to achieve the following with, the relevant environment :

  • Participation in government committees and forums
  • Participation in activities of other organizations concerned with health, population and related sectors
  • Collaboration with other centers, institutes, organizations and associations
  • Information sharing through publication and communication
  • Providing opportunities to other organizations, institutions and individuals to participate in HPC activities.
  • Development of professional personnel

Resource Persons

The resource persons base of the center consists of academicians, researchers, trainers, experts, government officials and practitioners from national and international organizations. A list of academicians is provided in the Faculty section of the bulletin. Other resource persons are identified and involved keeping in view the specific task or project.

CENTER’S COMMITMENTS

The HPC is thoroughly committed to the long-range goal of establishing itself as a center of excellence in social sector management. In trying to strive for such a goal it envisages significant contributions in health and population fields including primary health care, EPI, community development, maternal and child health, nutrition, development of women, etc. The HPC is also committed to the idea of becoming a thought leader in the health and population field with major emphasis on managing the health and population dilemma not only within the national boundary but extended to the international domain.

The center is also the hub for developing educational programs in health and population areas at IUBAT University. A degree program in nursing has been developed with assistance of USA, Canada, Australia and the Netherlands based institutions. The College of Nursing has been formed and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program is being offered.

There are plans to continue efforts of developing resource persons through orientation trips, and participation in training programs, workshops, seminars, and conferences in the region. The HPC will play greater emphasis on conserving and disseminating the knowledge base through its publication and documentation section to enable smooth flow and exchange of ideas and research findings with other centers of excellence in the pursuit of new knowledge in the health and population field.

Seminar

A seminar on ‘Strategies for Nutritional improvement in Bangladesh: Global and National Aspects’ was held on January 14, 2002. The seminar was led by Dr Cato Aall, Medical Nutritionist and Visitor on Health Sciences to IUBAT University from Norway.

  1. Seminar on Understanding Drag Use, Abuse and Addiction by Professor Arup Ratan Choudhury, BDS, PhD, FDSRCS, FICCDE, FICOOC, Professor of Dentistry, Ibrahim Medical College, Honorary Senior Consultant, Department of Dentistry, BIRDEM and Founder President of Association for the Prevention of Drug Abuse (MANAS), February 17, 2014
  2. Seminar on Fuzzy Based Knowledge Representation for Medical Image Segmentation, Dr Syoji Kobashi, Associate Professor, University of Hyogo, Japan May 25, 2014

STAFF DEVELOPMENT

At the invitation of International Training Program of BKKBN, Indonesia, Mr Mitul Mahmud Khan participated in the 2 weeks training program on Women Empowerment in Reproductive Health (RH) and Family Planning (FP) during March 10-22, 2003 held at BKKBN, Jakarta, Indonesia.  The program was executed by the inter-governmental alliance Partners in Population and Development with resource support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, USA.

The training program was participated by 25 mid and senior level program managers from 8 countries namely Bangladesh, China, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Mynmar, Phillipines and Indonesia. There were four participants from Bangladesh including Mr Khan. The program is the culmination of efforts by the Partners to promote South-South cooperation in RH & FP through sharing of knowledge and experience within the developing countries.