Open discussions and enhanced importance on reproductive health at universities and school level institutions are needed as a large number of Bangladeshi adolescents and youth do not have primary knowledge about reproductive health and rights, said experts.
At the inauguration ceremony of the two-day-long "National Conference on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights" on Saturday, the experts suggested establishing the "Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) Club" at the universities. The students can gain knowledge about reproductive health through open discussions at the club.
Population Science Department of the University of Dhaka and SNV Netherlands Development Organisation, Bangladesh jointly organised the virtual conference. The Business Standard was the media partner of the programme.
Capacity Building Coordinator of Bangladesh Nari Progati Sangha (BNPS) Nasrin Begum presented a report titled "Our Lives, Our Health, Our Futures: Empowering Adolescent Girls and Young Women in CHT Bangladesh" at the programme.
She said BNPS has been working in the Chattogram Hill Tracts region since 2009 and has formed 300 clubs for raising awareness on sexual and reproductive health and rights.
Now, as many as 1,200 adolescent girls are openly voicing concerns about their reproductive health rights. If the SRHR clubs are established at the universities, that will have a positive impact on reproductive health and rights.
Dhaka University Vice-Chancellor Professor Dr Md Akhtaruzzaman inaugurated the ceremony. Planning Minister M Abdul Mannan graced the inaugural session as the chief guest, while Dr Sue Ellis, country director, Bangladesh, SNV Netherlands, attended as the special guest.
Professor Dr Akhtaruzzaman expressed his hope that the recommendations made at the conference would help the government and other relevant stakeholders to formulate policies in this regard.
Planning Minister M Abdul Mannan said the government is continuing efforts to raise awareness about reproductive health countrywide, especially in rural areas.
Dr Abu Jamil Faisal, a public health expert and advisor to the health ministry, presented the keynote paper titled "Addressing the Sexual and Reproductive Health Challenges" at the inaugural session.