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B A I D S Bangladesh AIDS Information and Documentation Services


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Background: It has been proved around the world through various researches and studies that the essential thing needed to combat HIV/AIDS is to create awareness and educate the mass people about its causes and prevention. To create awareness among the people the only way possible is when different tools of mass communication will continuously disseminate information about this deadly issue and when the received information will increase their knowledge. In other words by ensuring free flow of AIDS information such environment needs to be created where it will assist in creating awareness among the people about HIV/AIDS as well as encourage them to come forward in combating this dangerous disease. But unfortunately although various programs had been implemented in last several years in creating awareness among Bangladeshi people about HIV/AIDS it was not possible to create such information environment. It was not possible to inform media owners and journalists not to mention the general public about the spread of this deadly disease like HIV/AIDS and its dangerous consequences. As a result the mass media and journalist community of Bangladesh cannot take effective measures in combating and creating public awareness about HIV/AIDS issue.

Mass media experts, newspaper editors and distinguished journalists in expressing their views at previous workshops organized by CCD with the assistance of CARE Bangladesh, openly said that as they do not have clear concept of causes, consequences and preventive methods of HIV/AIDS as well as lack of available information they and their news media are failing to play an effective role in combating or creating public awareness on the issue. The main reason according to them is journalists and researchers are not informed and familiar about various government and non-government initiated programs implemented in Bangladesh in preventing and creating public awareness about HIV/AIDS.  There are no effective measures to inform the journalists about these activities and programs. Also it has been learnt that journalists are refused access to HIV/AIDS related information by the organization involved in HIV/AIDS prevention in Bangladesh.

It has been observed that in the case of providing information about these programs they then to conceal some information they also reported then even CARE Bangladesh who successfully implemented various programs in combating and creating public awareness about HIV/AIDS in Bangladesh, did not take initiatives to provide these information to news media and journalists. In some cases CARE authority declined journalists to provide this information. For this reason journalists failed to publish accurate information about HIV/AIDS program of CARE Bangladesh. And the general people remained in dark about the successful program of CARE. This is true not only in the case of CARE but in other HIV/AIDS related programs in Bangladesh that are implemented or being implemented. As a result in mainstream and local mass media important issues like HIV/AIDS receive little coverage. And the little coverage they get are fragment and from negative perspective. They also noted that if this continues it will be difficult to prevent and create awareness among general people about HIV/AIDS.

For this reason they requested CARE Bangladesh and CCD to create a news agency and resource center for establishing HIV/AIDS related information environment and for ensuring free flow of information and for easy access to information at the all levels of people. In countries where AIDS took an epidemic from including Africa, this type of national news agency and resource center have been already established and are playing an important role in creating public awareness and mass education about HIV/AIDS. After evaluation of overall situation and strong recommendation from media experts, newspaper editors and distinguished journalists in last workshops, it was decided to included in this proposed project the program to establish Bangladesh AIDS Information and Documentation service (BAIDS) in order to create AIDS related information environment in this country.

Besides after the emergence of cyber journalism a new era in the flow of information started worldwide. If one news item or picture is placed on the website then it quickly reaches allover the people. By taking this advantage AIDS affected countries including Africa created Aids related websites which is playing an important role in providing latest information, creating awareness and organizing campaigns and advocacy programs. In our country this type of website is yet to be established. As a result people of the world cannot be informed about the HIV/AIDS situation of Bangladesh. For this reason an initiative is taken to create a website called BAIDS under this project.

Objectives of the Program: The main objective of this program will be to provide up-to-date HIV/AIDS related information to inform communication media, journalists, researchers and organizations dealing with prevention the deadly disease at national and international level.

Program Strategy: At the beginning of this project a separate cell at the CCD office will be established which will be called Bangladesh AIDS Information and Documentation Service (BAIDS). This type of center is first of its kind in Bangladesh. BAIDS will work at the same time as HIV/AIDS related news agency and as a resource center. Its task as news agency will be to provide factual reports, features, articles, news items, views etc reports of all the activities of this project as well as various activities of HIV/AIDS program of CARE Bangladesh. Through e-mail and fax these will be sent to all the news media, journalists at local and national level, national and international agencies in the country. In similar way it will provide photographic, reports, features, articles, news items and views about agencies working in Bangladesh as well as abroad to combat the deadly disease, their success, experience insights & gain. And send them to all the news media, journalists working at local and national level, associated national and international agencies in the country. And send them to all the news media, journalists working at local and national level, associated national and international agencies in the country. In short BAIDS will be active in continuously providing HIV/AIDS related information to news media, journalists and various agencies so that they can effectively contribute to HIV/AIDS prevention and to create public awareness through massive media coverage. Media annalist, part time journalists and trainee journalists under this project will be responsible for providing graphic reports, features, articles, news items and views.

The responsibility of BAIDS as resource center will be to distribute to journalists, researchers, students and interested individuals information and documents related to this project and all the activities under HIV program of CARE Bangladesh as well as activities of agencies working in different countries including Bangladesh in order to combat HIV/AIDS and create public awareness. For this all types of HIV/AIDS related information and documents will be downloaded from various web sites and reserved in the center. Besides, HIV/AIDS related all types of books, booklets, journals, study reports, posters and campaign materials will be collated from several organization and reserved here. As a result they can instantly provide information or documents individuals seek for. This resource center will be open to all level of journalists, researchers, development workers, students and general public for use. At the same time the center will provide cyber cafe facility go that they can collect and read necessary information about HIV/AIDS. At this center all the time journalists, researchers, development workers, students and general public can study and gain knowledge about HIV/AIDS.  

In this project BAIDS named news agency and resource center will be created as a website (www.baids.net). At the beginning of this project CCD will start this website through established Internet Service Provider (ISP) of the country. This website will contain history of HIV/AIDS in Bangladesh, present situation, reasons for its spread, the number of effected people and their treatment arrangement, the situation of the infected people, life style of the vulnerable people, initiatives taken by various agencies to combat AIDS as well as study and survey result, information and statistics of AIDS world situation. Also it will contain information on the progress of all the programs and activities of the proposed project, impact, success, problems, work experience and insights. At the same time in combating HIV/AIDS in Bangladesh the progress of the program taken by CARE, success, result and impact will also be included in the website. The website will be updated regularly and designed in such a way that anyone who visit that site will get the latest information and statistics on the AIDS situation in Bangladesh and the activities of CARE in combating AIDS.

A coordinator and communication officer will be appointed to efficiently administer the BAIDS activities and they also responsible to regularly update the website and other employees of this project will assist him.

Moreover if general public come to BAIDS to know about HIV/AIDS they will be taught about this deadly disease in detail as well as necessary advice will be provided. If people come to BAIDS with HIV/ADIS symptoms they will be referred to associate agencies including CARE Bangladesh for better their treatment.

CCD believes that if the program called Bangladesh AIDS Information and Documentation Service (BAIDS) can be effectively implemented then it will be possible to eradicate most of the shortage and obstacles of HIV/AIDS related information flow and mass media, journalists, researchers, development workers and general public will be able to gather sufficient knowledge about the deadly disease. If this program proves to be successful then this type of center will be established at greater districts level. Even after the end of the proposed project CCD with its own initiative will keep BAIDS running. As a result the existence of this project will be durable and attain effective result.    

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Developed by Anisul Ashekeen , Information Management Officer, CCD Bangladesh