‘Satellite corner’ brings revolution in reproductive health services for RMG workers

RMG workersProthom Alo file photo

Family planning related satellite corners established at garment factories under the initiative of Directorate General of Family Planning has brought salient revolution in providing sexual and reproductive health services to women garment workers.

Under a government project satellite corners were set up at 15 garment factories at Fatullah in Narayanganj where garments workers are getting sexual and reproductive health services free of cost.

Around 56,000 female workers received services from the corners since its emergence.

In 2019, the service was introduced in Narayanganj Sadar for the first time.

Satellite corners provide services free of cost two days a week.

Garment workers said they were earlier deprived of health care especially sexual and reproductive health care, pregnancy care, antenatal, postnatal care and so on.

Due to price hike of essential commodities, many households are unable to afford birth control products. Because of that many workers have unwanted pregnancies. Now they are getting services free of cost at satellite corners.  They are also learning many new things from there.

Talking to BSS, Time Sweaters Ltd worker Aleya Begum said: “This initiative of the Directorate General of Family Planning is a blessing for us. Now we don’t have to remain worried about sexual and reproductive health. Earlier, we had to go distant places to receive such services”.

“In many times, we even don’t get leave. We also had to think about the expenditure. As a result, we endure health problems day after day which at point become complex. Now we are getting services at our workplace,” she said.

Metro Knitting and Dyeing Mills Ltd worker Akhi Khatun said these satellite corners become a place of trust to them.

“Whenever we face any problem, we can get service from satellite corners. I am extending thanks to the Directorate General of Family Planning for the initiative,” she said.

According to sources, the workers are getting services related to family planning, pregnancy checkup, nutrition services, post delivery services and services for general diseases from the satellite corners.

Sanitary napkins are provided to workers during their menstruation.  Now workers don’t have to take leave for many health issues. Earlier, most of the women took leave for these problems.

Knit Concern Limited’s human resource official Sohel said owners and workers both are getting benefits for the introduction of satellite corner at the factories.

Workers are not taking leave as they are getting necessary quality services and medicines from the corners, he said.

Not only workers but also officers also receive service from the corner, he said adding that workers are also not seeking advance salary for treatment.

Narayanganj district monitoring officer of satellite corners and DGFP assistant director (coordination) Matiur Rahman told BSS that the initiative of setting up satellite corners is a successful one.

“Our staffs had to work a lot for implementing the initiative. Initially, we had to make the garment owners understand the matter and impart training to mid-level workers,” he said.

Arrangements have been made to supply necessary medicines, MSRs, family planning materials for organizing satellite clinics from the Directorate General of Family Planning, and arrangements have been made to provide projectors for imparting training to workers, he said.

Because if these golden girls remain out of family planning services, we will not be able to reach our target and it will be difficult to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), said Matiur Rahman.

He said as a result of the extension of this service programme to garments, thousands of women working in these garments are getting family planning, maternal and child health services, reproductive healthcare and nutritional services and counseling.

Garment owners are very happy to serve the female workers by officially setting up satellite corners in their garments.

Because, it has reduced workers from taking leaves and increased productivity.

Moreover, they can show foreign buyers that family planning, maternal and child health services, reproductive health care have been ensured for their employees.

As a result foreign buyers are satisfied. And garment workers are very happy to have these services at their fingertips.

Sadar Upazila Family Planning Officer Pradip Chandra Roy told BSS that family planning satellite corner has been set up in 15 garment factories of Narayanganj Sadar to relieve the stress of women workers working in garments.

About 55 thousand 619 women workers have taken sexual and reproductive health protection services in these satellite corners so far.

He said prime minister Sheikh Hasina received MDG Award-2010 for the country’s remarkable achievement in attaining the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), particularly in reducing child mortality.

“We are trying to reach the health service to all in order to achieve the sustainable development goals,” he said.