Bangladesh’s success in family planning like a miracle

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DHAKA, June 8, 2020 (BSS) – Bangladesh’s astounding success in
family planning was seemed a miracle as the emerging middle-income
nation has brought down its fertility rate from about seven births per
woman to 2.003 births per woman, almost the European average, since
its independence in 1971.

The current fertility rate for Bangladesh in 2020 is 2.003 births
per woman, a 1.23% decline from last year as the rate was 2.028 births
per woman in 2019 a 1.17% decline from 2018, according to a recent
study conducted by one of the UN agencies globally.

Bangladesh was also able to set up a unique example in the world
cutting off its population growth rate to 1.37 percent from 2.46
percent in the past four decades.

Attributing the success, the public health experts thanked the
governments for taking initiatives over the years that ensured women
empowerment through facilitating education and healthcare services for
the country’s womenfolk.

Self-determination and equal rights for women as well as ensuring
full access to education and healthcare made the huge difference, they
observed. Bangladesh has invested heavily in family planning services
while every eligible couple receives information about different
contraceptive methods from local health workers, which help reduce
population growth, Aminul Haque, a professor of population sciences at
the Dhaka University said.

The increase in literacy rate over the years has also had a positive
impact on lowering fertility rate, he said.

Other countries of the world, the experts said, had failed to
achieve such success as none could have been able to conduct such
massive awareness campaign on using of different kinds of family
planning methods as 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 take better care
of their children as well as causes less of a financial burden.

Furthermore, better healthcare services in rural areas also reduced
the child mortality rate that contributed to a drop in the fertility
rate, as people began to worry less about child survival.

According to Directorate General of Family Planning, only eight
percent eligible couples had used to practice family planning methods
in 1975.

But Bangladesh have been keeping progress to increase 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.

Currently, the rate of using family planning methods is 64 percent
in urban area and 62.4 percent in rural area while the rate of using
modern methods is 61.6 percent at national level, it said.

Health and family planning Minister Zahid Malik 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.

Besides, the minister said, the world has advanced a lot in reducing
mother and child mortality rate in 25 years from 1994 to 2019 and
Bangladesh is not legging behind as well.

In 25 years back, on average 8 per thousand women in the LDCs had
died during pregnancy or in birth giving complicacy which is now only
1.69 per thousand women in Bangladesh.

One of the Directors of 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 could take
decision of having children by their own choice without influence of
others,” he added.

The directorate, he said, has taken seven operation plans to
expedite the current awareness programmes with the aim of increasing
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 of 16767 to provide information
related to family planning as well as mother and children healthcare
to the couples.

The experts further proposed to shift family planning use patterns
towards more effective, longer lasting and lower-cost clinical and
permanent methods covering low performing areas.

But the major impact on fertility could be achieved by raising the
age of marriage, which will push up age at first birth and again
trigger a tempo effect, to bring fertility down further, they
suggested.

 

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