Enamul Hafiz Latifee compiles,
The use of family planning methods, known as the contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR), has increased eight times in the country in the last four decades.
According to a survey of Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey (BDHS)-2018, the CPR was only 7.7 percent in 1975 which increased to 63.1 percent in 2017. Bangladesh Sample Vital Statistics 2018 by BBS also reported the same.
Family planning experts observed that various awareness campaigns taken by the government and non-government organizations helped increase the contraceptive prevalence rate in the country.
The government pledged on increasing contraceptive access and use among poor people in urban and rural areas, improving the choice and availability of long-acting and permanent methods (LAPMs).
The government plans to increase LAPM use through an increase in the supply of materials and instruments for LAPMs, targeting low performing areas, increasing awareness, and outsourcing programs to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to cover hard-to-reach and low performing areas.
As a result from July 2018 to June 2019, the government witnessed that 6.75 lakh males or females took permanent or long-term family planning methods in just one fiscal year.
Of them, 33,035 males and females received permanent methods while rest 542,043 males and females took long-acting methods.
Results from the 2014 BDHS showed that knowledge of family planning methods were widespread throughout Bangladesh, with almost all ever-married and currently married women were able to identify at least one modern method of contraception.
Health and Family Welfare Minister Zahid Maleque said the use of different family planning methods have been increased due to various initiatives taken by the present government.
Besides, the rate of saving birth has increased to 47 from 23 percent while the rate of tasking post-delivery care raised to 43 from 19 present due to skilled midwives and primary health workers.
The current preferred family size for women in Bangladesh is 2.1 children, which has declined slightly over the last decade from 2.4 children.
The BDHS 2014 reports that 74 percent of pregnancies in the five years preceding the survey were wanted or intended and 26 percent of pregnancies were unintended.
The family planning department has taken programmes to reduce the family size by 2 children within 2020.
Director-General of the Directorate General of Family Planning (DGFP) of the Ministry of Health and Family Planning Quazi AKM Mohiul Islam said they are working relentlessly to increase the rate of family planning users through organizing different awareness programmes like pre-marriage counselling seminars, street drama, screening movies, and puppet shows.
He said the rate of family planning users has been increasing 1.5 present annually.
Medical officer of Dhaka Family Planning Satellite Clinic Dr. Mehedi Hasan Sarkar said presently people are aware much more compare to even a few decades back.
“We used to go to people’s house to convince them to take family planning methods … that time they were too shy to talk about it …. But now it got reversed, currently, many couples visit us to take different contraception methods,” he said.
Although the success of the family planning programme in Bangladesh has been widely acclaimed, many challenges still remain. Several demand and supply-side strategies can help the national family planning program to overcome these challenges.
The notable progress in country’s family planning program must be continued and strengthened to reach its goal of replacement level fertility.
Some experts recommended developing well-articulated mobile messages explaining the proper use of family planning methods in collaboration with Directorate General of Family Planning, ICT and NGOs for disseminating to eligible couples.
They also suggested that mass media, adult-education, and school curriculum need to be used to motivate people to value children irrespective of their sex, to highlight the benefits of small family size.
Inter-spousal communication should be encouraged during family planning counseling of couples to influence men’s desired family size and contraceptive method use, they observed.