I am working as Focal Person of The SPRINT Initiative in Bangladesh. The SPRINT initiative is a global project of International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) which provides sexual and reproductive health services. The interventions include provision of family planning services including pills and condoms, counseling services on how to get follow up of the methods through service providers. Apart from the operational works, I also involve media to increase the awareness about family planning and sexual health. i invite journalists from both television and newspapers to see our project and write report about family planning. I personally also write article and publish it in newspapers. I am also using social media, facebook and twitter as it has a big impact on youth.
Bangladesh has the highest population density in the world, 158 million people live in 130,168 square kilometer area. Despite development in other sector, the country is still stuck in poverty because of the excessive population. Spreading of infectious diseases and deterioration of law and order is also the result of huge population. No development plan is being implemented due to the high number of population. But birth control is not a priority here. This thing sparked me to work in FP.
SRH and Family Planning (FP) is still a taboo in Bangladesh. People do not feel comfortable to talk on SRH and FP, adolescent girls try to hide their first menstruation and contraceptives are not available for all. What i do, I ensure the availability of contraceptive for all, irrespective of married, unmarried, girls and boys in my project area. The condom distribution to young girls in rural setting had huge implications with regards to their empowerment and negotiation skills on condom use.
Being the second largest Muslim country in the world, Bangladeshi people are very religious and many of them believe that family planning method goes against God’s will. Religious fanaticism is the biggest hinder in successful implementation of family planning. Considering the reality we need to involve the religious leaders in family planning awareness campaign. Apart from these, involving youth is also important, because they are the future parents and they are open to accept new methods.
I will carry out advocacy with government, other stakeholders and media to make the family planning is a priority and to make them understand that there is no alternative of controlling birth if we want sustainable development . I would like to include family planning methods--condoms and oral pills-- as a relief items of Government Relief Fund so that disaster-affected people have the access of contraceptives. I am also working to sure the availability of condoms and pills for all eligible.