Sector Wide Approach to Strengthening Health ( SWASTH )

Bihar Technical Assistance Support Team (BTAST)
Government of Bihar initiative supported by Department for International Development, UK


Giving a push to the development agenda in Bihar

BTAST’s knowledge sharing meet brings together cross-sectoral experts to give a fillip to development in the state.

Patna: The Bihar Technical Assistant Support Team (BTAST) held a Cross-sectoral Knowledge Sharing meeting on 8th of July 2015 with the Government of Bihar (GoB) and other development partners working in the state on various issues related to health, nutrition, and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).  This meeting was called to set up an institutionalised common platform within the state for discussions and exchange of knowledge.

The workshop was attended by stakeholders like the Executive Director of State Health Society (SHS); Managing Director of Women Development Corporation (WDC), Director of Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), officials from Public Health Engineering Department (PHED), UNICEF, UNDP, WHO, UNFPA,  CARE India, NIPI and others.

Several large and small scale studies are being undertaken in Bihar, supported by development partners such as DFID, BMGF, UNICEF, WHO etc.  Usually the purpose of these surveys and studies is to monitor the progress of the state against certain development indicators, assess the effectiveness of specific programmes and policies, and/or identify ways to strengthen existing programmes and develop new ones -- with the ultimate aim of pushing development in Bihar.  At various discussions and meetings between BTAST and development partners, the usefulness and the appetite for a structured opportunity for programmes to share knowledge, experiences, challenges and lessons learnt were identified. This was seen as important for two reasons

  • Multiple synergies could be achieved from collaborative working in, for example, study design, tools, and products, which would help in achieving better study outcomes.   
  • Information sharing based on large and small-scale surveys, state level planning and evidence-based decision-making could be facilitated better with GoB.

This meeting helped to set in motion the process for such sharing. Presentations about some of the large surveys like the Concurrent Monitoring Survey being undertaken by BTAST, findings from surveys done by UNICEF and others were discussed with the Government counterparts. This Cross-sectoral Knowledge Sharing Group was recognised as a useful mechanism for not only supporting knowledge sharing amongst development partners but also stakeholders from three Government departments – Heath, Social Welfare and Public Health Engineering. The Group is also expected to connect members as a community to strengthen the collective capacity on survey and research in Bihar, and provide co-ordinated support to GoB policy and programming that is based on emerging evidence.

Subsequent meetings would be held on a quarterly basis through the year and the group would take up activities like discussions on methods including sampling, tools and implementation; analysis plans; dissemination and utilisation of results; sharing of knowledge and lessons learnt from large and small-scale surveys,  and so on.