Use of family planning methods increase 55pc in five decades

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DHAKA, June 19, 2021 (BSS) – Like several success stories in social index, Bangladesh has also made tremendous success in birth control as use of family planning methods in the country has increased by 55 percent in the last five decades.

Currently, more than 63 percent eligible Bangladeshi couples use family planning methods, a global average and highest in South Asia, which was less than eight percent in 1975, according to data of the directorate general of family planning.

Since independence, the country has been keeping up the progress by increasing the rate in every decade, as the use of family planning methods had raised to 54 percent in 2000, 61.2 percent in 2011 and 63.1 percent in 2020.

At present, the rate of using family planning methods is 64 percent in urban areas and 62.4 percent in rural areas while the rate of using modern methods is 61.6 percent at national level.

In Bangladesh, family planning remains as one of the top priorities in the 4th Health Sector Programme 2017-2021, as a path towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

For this, the government has mobilized 615 million US dollars for the family planning programme over the years 2017-2021, which is a 67 percent increase from the previous programme.

Bangladesh has also been able to set a unique example in the world, cutting off its population growth rate to 1.37 percent from 2.46 percent in the last four decades.

Attributing the success, the public health experts praised a number of initiatives taken by the government that ensured women empowerment through facilitating education and healthcare facilities for the country’s womenfolk.

Self-determination and equal rights for women, as well as ensuring full access to education and healthcare have made a huge difference, they observed.

Director General of Directorate General of Family Planning Sahan Ara Banu said the government has invested heavily in family planning services; while every eligible couple receives information about different contraceptive methods from local health workers, which helps to reduce the population growth.

Bangladesh has prioritized implementing the national action plan for postpartum family planning and is addressing unmet needs among adolescents and youths by operationalizing the national adolescent health strategy.

The government has strengthened its efforts to increase trained service providers, including deploying midwives to all sub-district hospitals, improving supervision of family planning services by placing clinical teams in all districts, and engaging the private sector for addressing gaps in service provision and supply of commodities.

Banu said 14 mother and children centers at district level and 230 union health service centers have been providing reproductive education to adolescents.

The increase in literacy rate over time has had a positive impact on lowering fertility rate, Aminul Haque, a professor of population sciences at Dhaka University said.

The experts said other countries of the world have failed to achieve such success as none have been able to conduct such a massive awareness campaign on use of different kinds of family planning methods like Bangladesh.

They believe Bangladesh’s media, particularly public broadcasters, played a major role in making people aware of the benefits of having fewer children, by pointing out that it helps parents to take better care of their children as well as causes less of a financial burden.

Health and Family Welfare Minister Zahid Maleque said only 37 percent of eligible couples at Least Developed Countries (LDCs) are using modern methods of family planning while the rate is 61.6 percent in Bangladesh.

The government has been providing free contraceptives to women for decades to reduce population growth, he said.

One of the Directors of the Directorate General of Family Planning Dr M Sharif said the government’s objective is to help every couple to build their family in a planned way.

“We would like to see planned families, where couples can take the decision of having children by their own choice without the influence of others,” he added.

He said the directorate has taken seven operation plans to expedite the current awareness programme with the aim of increasing the use of modern contraceptive methods to 70 percent.

Dr Sharif said the government’s target is to reduce the fertility rate to only two children per woman by 2021.

The government has also set up a call centre named Sukhi Paribar (Happy Family) with a routing number 16767 to provide various information related to family planning as well as mother and children healthcare to the couples.