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Bangladesh: PM Vows to Achieve Health Sector Targets
Source: unbconnect.com
Source Date: Monday, November 12, 2012
Focus: Citizen Engagement, Internet Governance
Country: Bangladesh
Created: Nov 13, 2012

Acknowledging that Bangladesh has also been confronting formidable challenges to materialise the health dreams of its people like many other countries, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday expressed her resolve to reach the targets of reproductive health and family planning through mutual cooperation and collaboration.

“I hope we’ll able to reach the desired goal of reaching RH (reproductive health) and FP (family planning) targets through our mutual cooperation and collaboration,” she said.

The Prime Minister was addressing the foundation stone unveiling ceremony of the secretariat building of Partners in Population Development (PPD) at a city hotel.

Sheikh Hasina said that her government is determined to support Partners in PPD and South-South Cooperation in its efforts to address sexual and reproductive health and other population and development issues pertinent to the developing countries.

Chaired by Health and Family Welfare Minister Prof Dr AFM Ruhul Haq, Chen Li, Vice Minister, National Population and Family Planning Commission of China, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare of India and Isatou Njie-Saidy, vice president and secretary of State for Women Affairs of Gambia spoke, among others, on the occasion. Secretary of PPD Board Dr Boniface O K’Oyugi delivered the address of welcome.

Mentioning that Bangladesh is one of the 10 founding members of PPD, she said, “We are proud to state that since 1994, Bangladesh has actively been playing a positive role for the promotion of South-South Cooperation.”

She noted that PPD’s membership has grown from 10 founding members to 25 member countries in 2012 across the southern hemisphere, currently representing over 57 percent of the world population.

“We’ve taken all opportunities opened to us at the international level to ensure that South-South Cooperation remains one of the most important strategies in meeting the global agenda on Reproductive Health (RH), population and development,” Hasina added.

At the national level, she said, Bangladesh has sheltered the organisation’s secretariat and provided all necessary logistics and technical support to enable the organisation to function.

Bangladesh’s commitment to International Conference on Population and Development has been reflected in the formulation of relevant policies and programmes and in their effective implementations. “As a result, the RH and FP programmes of Bangladesh are considered to be a success story for the region,” she observed.

In this regard, she said that Family Planning policies initiated by the government in the 1970s and partnership with key stakeholders and civil society organisations helped reduce the Total Fertility Rate from 6.3 in the early 1970s to about 2.3 in 2011.

The Contraceptive Prevalence Rate for married women has increased from 7.7 percent in 1975 to 61.2 percent in 2011, marking over sevenfold increase. The resultant population growth rate has declined from 2.61 percent in 1974 to 1.37 percent in 2011.

The Prime Minister mentioned that maternal mortality declined from 322 per 100,000 live births in 2001 to 194 per 100,000 live births in 2010; a 40 percent decline in nine years, hence Bangladesh is on track in achieving the primary target of MDG-5.

Hasina said that her government has been implementing massive programmes for women empowerment alongside reaching healthcare and RH facilities to their doorsteps. “The present government has so far set up nearly 12,000 community clinics to provide healthcare and RH services to the rural people. We have a plan to set one community clinic for every 6,000 people.”

She said that Bangladesh experienced a high population growth from 1960 to 1990s, but the level of total fertility rate is declining and expected to replacement level fertility by 2015 owing to the success of family planning programme.

The largest reproductive segment of population 15 to 24 years of age constitutes about 20 percent of total population. A large group of youthful population will be a ‘Window of opportunity’ in Bangladesh.

The total number of working age will increase and youth dependency will decline. “Our country can be benefited from the large bulge of economically active adults who entering the workforce as the ‘demographic dividend.”

“As you all know, the PPD Secretariat was established in Dhaka in September 1996. Since then, being the host country of the Secretariat, Bangladesh government has been providing support in different ways beyond the promised annual contribution of 20,000 US dollars and has so far contributed around 600,000 US dollars for the operation of the Secretariat in Dhaka,” the premier told her audience.

Mentioning different steps taken by Bangladesh to facilitate PPD, Hasina said Bangladesh government has provided all necessary support to the installation of the Secretariat, including granted diplomatic status to the PPD Secretariat and its Executive Director to bring the Secretariat at the level of Diplomatic Missions and UN Organisations working in Bangladesh.

The government of Bangladesh has handed over 64 decimals of land to PPD Secretariat.

The Bangladesh government is providing full assistance and support to PPD for timely completion of the construction work of the building, she added.
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