Collaboration for Self-reliance: How We Plan to Transition 399 Smiling Sun Clinics Into One
USAID/Bangladesh's first ever Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) on designing one of the flagship activities titled- ‘Advancing Universal Health Coverage (AUHC)’ demonstrates a set of exemplary practices of collaboration, learning and adaptation. This BAA is unique, not in the overall process, but because it has generated a solution that will enable the Mission to introduce and operationalize improvements in the 20-year-old health service delivery approach within Bangladesh.
Over the past two decades, USAID/Bangladesh, through 25 local NGO partners as well as a number of direct contracts and cooperative agreements has supported the delivery of healthcare services to the marginalized populations of Bangladesh. This system of 399 clinics and thousands of satellite clinics is called the Smiling Sun Network Clinics or Surjer Hashi in Bangla. It is the world’s largest network of maternal and child health clinics.
By choosing a BAA, USAID/Bangladesh exhibited a culture of openness to ideas outside the Agency and its intentional approach to collaborate with stakeholders that included external partners, Mission’s internal experts and relevant teams from Washington. The external partners also ranged from host government agencies, other donors, possible implementers, local experts, to civil society organizations, academics and so forth. This combination was complemented by the lessons learned and adaptation of more than two decades of successes and challenges. The BAA process resulted in effective collaboration among stakeholders that later led to the production of an integrated concept note. It reflected remarkable consensus among stakeholders on program components displaying a strong ownership. In the end a Research and Development contract was awarded in September 2018 to implement the resulting activity.