SMC History

Overview of Social Marketing Company (SMC)

SMC started social marketing program in Bangladesh in 1974. Overall mission of SMC is to improve the health and wellbeing of women, children and families through social marketing of products and services in family planning, maternal and child health, nutrition and other socially beneficial areas in partnership with the government, development partners and private sector. SMC and USAID have continued their partnership over the last 48 years and SMC is considered as one of the successful investments of USAID.


Manufacturing Units of SMC

● ORS and MNP Manufacturing Facility at Bhaluka, Mymensingh .
● Food Manufacturing Facility at Bhaluka, Mymensingh
● Health & Hygiene Factory in Cumilla
● Electrolyte Drink Manufacturing Plant at Bhabanipur, Gazipur (in progress)

SMC is a major contributor to the Bangladesh national health and family planning program. It markets a full range of family planning products, Oral Rehydration Salt (ORS), Micronutrient Powder (MNP), Multiple Micronutrient Supplement (MMS), Deworming tablets, Zinc and other public health products. SMC operates the biggest ORS manufacturing facility in the country having a market share of around 61%. SMC’s sanitary napkin has quickly become the second most popular brand in the country which is produced in its own manufacturing plant. SMC’s MNP is contributing to reduce iron deficiency anemia among the children under-5 years. Its MMS contributing to improve nutrition status of the pregnant women of the country. The Company has an extensive sales and distribution network and field-level program operations across the country.

SMC has an extensive distribution system across the country to facilitate its nationwide sales efforts. A state of excellent Central Warehouse of SMC is located at Bhaluka, Mymensingh.

According to the Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey (BDHS) 2017-18, SMC has remarkably contributed to increase Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (CPR) at the national level by sharing 47% pills, 62% condoms and 33% injectables. In total, SMC contributed 38% of the modern contraceptive method use nationally. As per the 2022 Contraceptive Social Marketing Statistics released by DKT International, USA, SMC was ranked as the third-largest contraceptive social marketing organization globally in terms of numbers of Couples-Years of Protection (CYPs) delivered. 

SMC implements its program with extensive national coverage through its five Star networks engaging different level of providers in the private sectors. Blue Star Program – a network of around 11,104 private sector non-graduate providers; the Green Star Program – a network of more than 4,902 drug sellers and the Pink Star Program – a network of 560 graduate providers, mostly Obstetricians and Gynecologists. The most recent network of SMC is Rose Star engaging Pediatricians to counsel on nutrition and growth monitoring for the children under five years. SMC improves the skills of these private providers through basic and periodic refresher trainings. These networks are branded by SMC to promote it as outlets to offer quality public health services. SMC’s community mobilization program in rural areas of 112 upazilas under 40 districts has been recognized for successfully disseminating health messages and promoting public health products at the community level. 

Based on positive experienced in rural areas, SMC started to replicate its Gold Star model in peri-urban population in Dhaka, Chattogram, Barishal and Sylhet. As a major intervention in the community mobilization program, SMC engaged 3,480 women entrepreneurs (known as Gold Star) to make public health products and information accessible at the household level in these upazilas. 

In 2014, SMC formed SMC Enterprise Ltd (EL), a for-profit subsidiary to separate profitable activities from nonprofit to effectively manage a growing and complex operation. The Pharmaceutical Division of SMC EL started its journey in 2017 with the key objective of “no one should suffer, especially the less-privileged ones due to lack of affordable quality medicine.” Currently, the Pharma Division sells 41 products in the market. 

SMC established two clinics - one in 2018 and another one in 2021 in order to provide quality health care and diagnostic services at an affordable price. SMC is now implementing these health clinics to create a sustainable model keeping provision of consultation services, diagnosis and testing facilities, and a pharmacy. 

Geographical Coverage of Star Networks & Field Force of SMC (as of September 2023):

Program type / networks    # of district covered # of Upazila covered # of members/outlets
Blue Star 64 495 11,104
Green Star 64 495 4,902
Pink Star 58 - 560
Rose Star 14 - 217
Gold Star (Rural) 39 112 3,248
Gold Star (Urban) 6 9 232
Pharmacy 64 495 176,898
Non-pharmacy 64 495 669,001

The above networks and outlets are covered through 12 sales offices using the following field forces

● 337 Sales Force

● 372 Medical Information Officers (as of September 2023)

● 131 Field Program Staff (as of September 2023)

● 704 Distribution Sales Force

In its long journey from a project to a thriving social enterprise, SMC is now considered as one of the largest private sector partners of the Government of Bangladesh and USAID.