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Dhaka Tribune

What Bangladesh needs to do to improve health and welfare

Kathak, a youth activist of Girls Advocacy Alliance (GAA), stresses the importance of ensuring essential medical services in remote areas and fringe communities

Update : 23 Oct 2020, 09:46 PM

Bangladesh is a riverine country, and it makes providing sustainable healthcare to the grassroots level a daunting task. This particularly applies to the case of providing essential medical services to pregnant women, children, and people living in remote areas like chars and haors.

Untrained midwives remain an integral part of the birth process in villages. There remains a disdain towards medical facilities because of dated social norms rooted in stigma, which have been contributing to maternal deaths and the infant mortality rate.

Despite the government’s zero tolerance policy towards drugs, fringe communities remain mired in drug consumption and trafficking. Our inspections and reports have confirmed that in many colonies, women are directly involved in the drug trade, and children as young as 10 years old are addicted to drugs. Authorities need to be more vigilant to prevent this from spiraling.

While we’re on the subject of authority vigilance, road accidents remain a major cause of death, injury, and financial losses due to a lack of enforcement and awareness of road laws.

Sustainable Development Goals 3.7

“Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive healthcare services, including for family planning, information and education, and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programs”

Despite the talk of measures for reproductive health and adolescent healthcare at even upazila levels, implementation has been negligible. At the adolescent corners at upazila health complexes, very few girls seldom appear, and boys never.

These services are not publicized, people are misinformed about them, and their operating hours collide with school hours, and all these factors prevent adolescents from engaging them to actually learn for themselves.


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In addition, the textbook on physical education and health is utterly irrelevant in today’s context. Half the book only covers the history and rules of various books. Reproductive health is given only a few cursory paragraphs that most students hardly ever glance at.

Concurrently, a shortage of adequate doctors and health workers remains yet another obstacle for providing health services to target groups.

Dense populations, environmental pollution and unhealthy lifestyles are pushing people to the brink of death. If we want to reduce health hazards, we need to start providing sustainable shelter, water, and sanitation for our huge population.

This article has been published under special arrangement as part of a partnership with Plan International Bangladesh

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