Govt must look into decrease in availing birth control services

EditorialProthom Alo illustration

We understand birth control as controlling the size of the population. A nation’s growth, development, food security and many other things depend on population control. Many other things including the women’s reproductive health, child health, maternal and neonatal mortality, food and nutrition requirements, and education rates are involved with this as well.

Population control is essential to have a planned family. The family planning department has seven services to this end. Women are the dominant service seekers here. The number of males is less for various reasons. But it is worrying that the rate of government services in birth control is declining these days.

Despite being a country with high population density, Bangladesh earned fame in controlling population. We have also seen global leaders in African countries and other regions replicating measures Bangladesh used to curb the population boom. But is Bangladesh itself being able to maintain that success?

The information the family planning department has been providing us is worrying. Availing various birth control services has declined by 24 per cent in the last five years. The rate soars to 37 per cent if we see the data of six past years.

Maintaining the continuity of any success achieved in any sector is one of the prime challenges of this country. Whatever we may say about sustainable development, a huge lacking remains. This data on availing birth control services suggests that.

The family planning department officials claim Bangladesh is doing better than any other country in the sector. The total fertility rate in the country is under control. But doubts creep into our mind as we find discrepancies in the information of various government departments on the fertility rate.

It is easier to take temporary and short-term birth control methods from private organisations. Going to the drug store near the home is enough for this. The designated government authorities are not concerned of this decline in number people taking the services.

But we must remember the rate of people becoming irregular in adopting contraceptives is also high. Experts consider decreasing the number of people taking long-term and permanent measures worrying. Almost the total amount of these two services is provided by the government. That’s why we consider it essential to evaluate immediately why the rate of people taking the services decreased and where have the shortcomings appeared.

Despite various social barriers and conservatism, mass campaigns were behind the success in birth control. Public health experts said the government does not pay attention to birth control like before.

The field workers do not go to houses to promote birth control contraceptives. But the contributions of the fieldworkers are most significant behind this success in birth control. They have to be used again.

Upgrading the quality of services and speed has to be brought through a coordinated planning. Information technology also has to be used. We have seen the women field workers providing services to millions of women at the upazila level by visiting their areas. This is a project of children and women affairs ministry. Health service is also included there. Their help also could be taken.

The thing is, campaigning has to be increased. At the same time we must keep an eye so that there is no delay in taking up projects and releasing funds. We expect Bangladesh’s achievement is population control to continue.