Introducing pulse oximetry in routine IMCI services in Bangladesh: A context-driven approach to influence policy and programme through stakeholder engagement

Ehsan Rahman, Sabrina Jabeen, Genevie Fernandes, Goutom Banik, Jahurul Islam, Shafikul Ameen, Sabina Ashrafee, Anika Hossain, Husam Alam, Tamanna Majid, Ashfia Saberin, Anisuddin Ahmed, Ehtesham Kabir, Mohammod Jobayer Chisti, Sabbir Ahmed, Mahbuba Khan, Tracy Jackson, David H Dockrell, Harish Nair, Shams El ArifeenMuhammed Islam, Harry Campbell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Background: Pneumonia is the leading cause of under-five child deaths globally and in Bangladesh. Hypoxaemia or low (<90%) oxygen concentration in the arterial blood is one of the strongest predictors of child mortality from pneumonia and other acute respiratory infections. Since 2014, the World Health Organization recommends using pulse oximetry devices in Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) services (outpatient child health services), but it was not routinely used in most health facilities in Bangladesh until 2018. This paper describes the stakeholder engagement process embedded in an implementation research study to influence national policy and programmes to introduce pulse oximetry in routine IMCI services in Bangladesh.

Methods: Based on literature review and expert consultations, we developed a conceptual framework, which guided the planning and implementation of a 4-step stakeholder engagement process. Desk review, key informant interviews, consultative workshops and onsite demonstration were the key methods to involve and engage a wide range of stakeholders. In the first step, a comprehensive desk review and key informant interviews were conducted to identify stakeholder organisations and scored them based on their power and interest levels regarding IMCI implementation in Bangladesh. In the second step, two national level, two district level and five sub-district level sensitisation workshops were organised to orient all stakeholder organisations having high power or high interest regarding the importance of using pulse oximetry for pneumonia assessment and classification. In the third step, national and district level high power-high interest stakeholder organisations were involved in developing a joint action plan for introducing pulse oximetry in routine IMCI services. In the fourth step, led by a formal working group under the leadership of the Ministry of Health, we updated the national IMCI implementation package, including all guidelines, training manuals, services registers and referral forms in English and Bangla. Subsequently, we demonstrated its use in real-life settings involving various levels of (national, district and sub-district) stakeholders and worked alongside the government leaders towards carefully resuming activities despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

Results: Our engagement process contributed to the national decision to introduce pulse oximetry in routine child health services and update the national IMCI implementation package demonstrating country ownership, government leadership and multi-partner involvement, which are steppingstones towards scalability and sustainability. However, our experience clearly delineates that stakeholder engagement is a context-driven, time-consuming, resource-intensive, iterative, mercurial process that demands meticulous planning, prioritisation, inclusiveness, and adaptability. It is also influenced by the expertise, experience and positionality of the facilitating organization.

Conclusions: Our experience has demonstrated the value and potential of the approach that we adopted for stakeholder engagement. However, the approach needs to be conceptualised coupled with the allocation of adequate resources and time commitment to implement it effectively.

Original languageEnglish
Article number06001
Pages (from-to)06001
JournalJournal of Global Health
Publication statusPublished - 9 Apr 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Bangladesh
  • COVID-19
  • Child
  • Delivery of Health Care, Integrated
  • Humans
  • Oximetry
  • Pandemics
  • Policy
  • Stakeholder Participation


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