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Speakers: Maternal mortality rate, high fertility rate hinders SDG 3

  • Published at 12:26 am September 12th, 2019
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Speakers of the seminar on SDG 3 held at BKSF Bhaban on Wednesday, September 11, 2019 Mahmud Hossain Opu

Speakers voiced their concerns at a seminar on SDG 3 in PKSF Bhaban in the city on Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Speakers at a program said the unchanged maternal mortality rate and high fertility rate in the country is a matter of concern for achieving Sustainable Development Goal 3 or SDG 3, a goal that is stated as 'Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages.'  

Speakers voiced their concerns at a seminar on SDG 3 in PKSF Bhaban in the city on Wednesday.

Dr Sharifa Begum, a former senior research fellow of Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS), and also a general body member of PKSF, said: “For the last ten years the maternal mortality rate and the high fertility rate remained unchanged which will hinder achieving SDG 3 for the country.”

She pointed out the changing pattern of the high population of the country by age group, saying that the lack of measures to control non-communicable diseases (NCDs) etc, would impact health services going forward.

Discussant Professor Niaz Ahmed Khan of Dhaka University’s Department of Development Studies, said there would be three challenges in achieving SDG 3. Namely: the changing pattern of the highest population of the country by age group, the changing pattern of epidemiology, and the means of governance to manage the health sector.

“It would not be realistic for the government alone to render health services, as 83.87% of all health services are currently provided by the private sector,” he said, citing government sources.

He also said that ensuring accessibility and quality are SDG3 pillars to uphold in our country.   The significant factor would be how the government oversees the way private hospitals and healthcare centres provide their services, the professor said.

Shalina Akter, director (Planning) of Directorate General of Family Planning, said they have a scarcity of staff which has to render other ancillary services as well. As such, they cannot provide proper services to families.

She stressed the importance of a coordinated effort to render health services. “If the services area at any organization were more focused, then more people would be reached with the least resources, and the overlapping of resources would stop.”

The secretary of Medical Education & Family Welfare Division, Sheikh Yusuf Harun, added that child marriage in the country is still critical. He said they sat with deputy commissioners in the districts and asked them to lower child marriage.

He also noted that to date, only 43% of mothers give birth in health care institutions. The remaining 57% do not even go to any health care institutions for childbirth, he added.

Earlier in the program, the Deputy managing director of PKSF gave a presentation where he explained how PKSF, with support from its partner organizations, has made 12.6 lakh families beneficiaries of primary healthcare.

Chairman of PKSF, Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, presided over the program. Minister of Foreign Affairs, AK Abdul Momen, was chief guest at the program.