Paperless implementation of eMIS began in two upazilas of Tangail and Habiganj from 1 November 2018 following clearance from the DGFP. DGFP also issued official instructions where it was stipulated that pilot experience would be reviewed by the headquarters before scaling up in other areas.
A joint monitoring visit by senior officials in Tangail on 24 August raised expectations for ending the pilot stage and go fully digital in the whole district. A Facebook post of Tangail DGFP mentioning paperless expectations generated lot of likes. DG, DGFP visited first Mirzapur Sadar Health and Family Welfare Center and then participated in a discussion meeting to review the experience of paperless work. Director (MIS), DGFP and other officials accompanied him.
The team first visited Mirzapur Sadar Union Health and Family Welfare Center and interacted with the field worker. Afterwards, they headed for Tangail to attend the discussion meeting, which was held in Circuit House meeting room. Quazi A. K. M. Mohiul Islam, Additional Secretary and DG, DGFP was present as the Chief Guest. Manoj Kumar Roy, Director (MIS), DGFP, Md. Humayun Kabir, and Mohammad Mosarof Hossain Khan, ADC (General) were present as Special Guests. Md. Shahidul Islam, Deputy Commissioner, Tangail presided. Deputy Directors of MIS also attended the meeting.
All officers of DGFP from the district, such as Assistant Director (FP), Assistant Director (CC), Upazila Family Planning Officers, Medical Officers- Maternal and Child Health participated in the meeting.
The theme of the discussion meeting was “Making data management of family planning activities paperless through eMIS Initiatives”. Luthful Kibria, Deputy Director, Family Planning (DDFP), Tangail provided a brief background and objectives of the visit. He highlighted that following the government of Bangladesh’s digital vision, family planning department had been working to digitize their activities. This was followed by a presentation containing status of eMIS and future plans. Md. Sanaullah Nuri, Deputy Director (MIS), DGFP discussed about the DGFP’s scale up plan for eMIS in the current financial year and beyond. Luthful Kibria, DDFP described the status of their preparedness for going paperless in all upazilas of the district. He highlighted why it is possible to rely solely on apps or web based tools developed under the eMIS. He also discussed about some field level problems like high level of vacancies. He suggested that NGOS could be engaged in eMIS work.
The floor was then opened for discussion. Md. Saiful Islam, UFPO, Bhuapur initiated the discussion. He mentioned that ELCO numbers should be unique. He discussed about poor connectivity in some areas and also suggested that UHFWCs could be fitted with Wi-Fi. He mentioned difficulties in working in hard to reach areas. The workload of FWAs has increased with the increase of population which could be addressed through creation of more positions of FWAs. He suggested to divide current units so that client size becomes manageable by FWAs.
Ivy Yasmin, UFPO, Tangail Sadar, raised issues of user interface of the apps. She informed that some fields restrict user from inputting data. She suggested that in addition to selecting standard values, the users should also be given options to write in an empty “others” field. Logistics are not properly reflected in the apps. There are a few unions with more than one UHFWC. She also expressed concern about the continuity of support from MEASURE Evaluation/icddr,b after going paperless and how that could be addressed.
Md. Humayun Kabir, SSTA, MEASURE Evaluation responded to issues related with apps and support. The DDFP and senior management also intervened.
Speeches by Specials guests
Speeches by Specials guests then followed. The Additional Deputy Commissioner (General), Tangail felicitated the DGFP officials for digitizing their work. ADC mentioned that they could explore this idea and connect the DC office with the UNO offices.
Manoj Kumar Roy, Director (MIS), DGFP highlighted the ownership of eMIS by the government. He mentioned that the DGFP has taken over the implementation and scaling up the eMIS tools in other districts. He stated that not only in Tangail, the DGFP would gradually eliminate paper in the field in all the 64 districts.
Md. Humayun Kabir, Senior Strategic and Technical Advisor expressed satisfaction and congratulated the managers and staff of Tangail to have come so far. He thanked them for showing patience when the performance of the software had some issues, for providing valuable inputs as users that led to improvements in the versions and the tenacity to bear with the pains during the pilot stage.
After the speeches of special guests, crests were distributed to the DG, DGFP and other special guests to commemorate the occasion.
Speech of the Chief Guest
The DG, DGFP speaking as the Chief Guest mentioned that concept for having paperless office had existed for quite long time and not entirely new, the oldest reference dates back to 1940. He explained why they should go for paperless. It saves time, saves storage space. He instructed the field officials to take necessary preparations so that Tangail could go paperless form 1 November 2019. He stated that actions had been taken for filling up the positions of different categories. He also elaborated different steps the DGFP were taking to improve the department. He reminded them they need to work hard to improve the status of mother and children and strive towards achieving sustainable development goals.
Remarks from the Chair
The chair, Md. Shahidul Islam, Deputy Commissioner, who also chairs the district level family planning committee, delivered concluding speech. He congratulated the DGFP for initiating digitalization on such a big scale. He mentioned that going fully digital would be an extraordinary step, which would put the family planning department in a leading position in the district.
Please click here to view the photo story on the event and blog on visit to Family Welfare Center.