Special Adolescent Health Campaign


Bangladesh has more than 32 million adolescents (aged 10-19 years) out of an estimated total population of 165 million (BBS, 2022). Adolescents experience physical and psychological changes during the puberty period. Parents, senior family members and teachers feel uncomfortable to discuss pubertal issues with adolescents. This scenario deprives adolescents of getting vital information on puberty, menstrual and hygiene management, family planning, gender-based violence, and most importantly nutrition. As a result, adolescents remain vulnerable to malnutrition and lack of knowledge about complications of early marriage and early pregnancy, which limits their rights to participate in the decision-making process in their life.

Overview of adolescent health program of SMC
SMC started adolescent health program in 2017 with the financial support of USAID. This flagship program is being implemented by the four national NGOs-CWFD, PSTC, Sachetan Society, and Shimantik in 101 upazilas where 65 upazilas are supported by USAID and 36 by SMC. Health sessions are conducted at educational institutions (schools, colleges & madrasas) and at the community level to raise awareness of health and nutrition issues. 

Special campaign on adolescent health
Until recently, a largenumber of adolescents are out of reach despiteon going adolescent health programs. Moreover, educational institutions wereclosed for almost two yearsdue to the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, SMC conducted special campaigns in 2022 to reach more adolescents. This special campaign provided opportunities to adolescents regarding easy access to quality and comprehensive adolescent health messages and services.The campaign focused to disseminate messages on Healthy Timing and Spacing of Pregnancy, the First 1000 Days Care, adolescents' health, Gender-based Violenceand prevention and management of TB by using a flipchart. The duration of the campaign was four months from May to August 2022.

Implementation strategies of the campaign
This campaign has been executed by the existing four implementing partners of SMC. These partner NGOs have recruited 180 field staff. At the beginning of the campaign,a two-day orientation program was organized by SMC for the field staff to make them familiar with the concept, importance, implementation modalities, processes of thishealth campaign and adolescents health issues. The adolescent health sessions were arranged at educational instions and communities. Almost eighty-seven percent of health sessions were held at educational institutes where 440,956 adolescents attended and the restwere held in the community with 65,342 adolescents. Brochures focusing on health and nutrition messages were distributed among the adolescents in each session.

Campaigns reach
The campaign reached a total of 506,298 adolescentsby organizing 12,862 sessions with adolescent boys and girls (61% girls and 39%boys).There was a provision of quiz competition among the participants. During each session as a reward five participants received rulerslabeled with key health messages.

Campaign results
The special campaign helped to reach more adolescents in just four months period. This is quite useful in creating awareness, improving knowledge and changing the behaviors of adolescents within the shortest time.This campaign made a remarkable increase in the sales volume of several public health products of SMC. The following table shows the sales of SMC sanitary napkin ‘Joya', de-worming tablet ‘Vermicid' and hand washing soap ‘Easy Clean' during the campaign period (May-August 2022) over the last four months before starting the campaign (January - April 2022).

Sales before and during the campaign


Sales before the campaign (January-April, 2022)

Sales during the campaign May-August, 2022

Increase in %

Joya Sanitary Napkin













The above table shows the sales of Joya during the campaign period increased by 18% compared to the sales of the previous four months period. Similarly, Vermicid sales have increased by 107%, and Easy Clean by 110%.

The increased sales volume in those areas indicates the positive effects of the campaign. However, SMC has initiated a study to assess the results of this special campaign and the report is expected to be available in December 2022. Based on the positive findings, SMC will further plan to replicate this approach.

TV Campaign on Adolescent Health: 'Shwapnojoyee' Episode 1-6