UNFPA supports the Ministry of Health to reach every pregnant woman and newborn in Sri Lanka

1 November 2016

Colombo, 01 November 2016: Behaviour Change Communication (BCC) is an essential component in developing healthy and peaceful societies. BCC promotes positive behaviours among communities, and is fundamental in achieving sustainable development. Recognizing the importance of BCC, last year, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) supported the Health Education Bureau (HEB) of the Ministry of Health to develop five Behaviour Change Communication (BCC) strategy guides in partnership with Family Health Bureau.

The five BCC strategy guides, launched last year under the patronage of H. E. the President, Maithripala Sirisena, were developed on five areas: 1) Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health, 2) Maternal and Newborn Health, 3) Gender Based Violence, 4) Family Planning, and 5) Well Women’s Clinics.  

Following the launch of the BCC Strategy Guides, the Health Education Bureau in collaboration with UNFPA and the other directorates of the Ministry of Health, completed the first step in implementing the recommendations of the BCC strategy guides, by developing an ‘Information Education Communication’ (IEC) Package.

An event was held on 1 November 2016, to launch the IEC Package for the Implementation of Behavior Change Communication Strategy Guides for Reproductive Health Communication. The IEC provides each pregnant women and her family with essential and important information, to ensure safe pregnancies and lower maternal and infant mortality.

Addressing the event, the Deputy Minister of Health, Nutrition & Indigenous Medicine, Hon. Faizal Kasim, said: “Public Health Midwives are doing a great service to ensure good health and wellbeing of pregnant women and newborns in Sri Lanka. I request you to use this material to facilitate your work, which in turn will improve the effectiveness of the important work that you are already carrying out at field level”.

Speaking at the event UNFPA Country Representative for Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Mr. Alain Sibenaler, said: “The findings from the maternal deaths reviews of 2015 indicate that delays in seeking care, was presented in 54% of maternal deaths. This shows the strong the need for behaviour change at all levels. It is important that communities have accurate knowledge and information so that they can make the right decisions when it comes to critical situations”.

The event was also graced by other dignitaries including the Deputy Director General of Public Health Services, Dr. Lakshman Siyambalagoda, Deputy Director General of Medical Services, Dr. L. Somathunge, and Director of the Health Education Bureau, Dr. R.D.F.C Kanthi.