The essential sexual and reproductive health care rights are constrained by the COVID-19 overdose. Model Youth Parliament and Global Platform ActionAid Bangladesh have taken initiative to model Union Health and Family Welfare Center in improving the quality of health services for the youth. This initiative was highlighted at the Annual Accountability Breakfast hosted by Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH), the World’s largest alliance committed to protecting and advocating for the health, well-being and rights of women, children and adolescents on 22 September 2021.
To implement the model initiative, a workshop has been held in Charbaria Union of Barisal Sadar Upazila with the members of Adolescent Health Care Management and Coordination Committee. Union Parishad Chairman Md Mahatab Hossain Suruj was the Chief Guest at the workshop held at Charbaria Union Health and Family Welfare Center on Saturday, 18 September 2021. Hasina Begum, President of the Union Parishad Standing Committee on Health, presided over the function, which was attended by 15 members. Among others, the Chairperson of the symbolic youth parliament Md. Aminul Islam (Firoz Mostafa), Sub Assistant Community Medical Officer Dr. Molina Rani Baral, UP member Rehana Begum and others spoke. The workshop was conducted by Sohanur Rahman, Executive Chief of Pratiki Youth Parliament.
During the discussion, the speakers affirmed that the government has many commendable initiatives in improving the quality of sexual and reproductive health services for the youth. But COVID-19 has created a new challenge. Thus, in many cases, it is not enough to just make laws and policies. Proper implementation of laws and policies is possible only through coordination among government agencies and accountability of service providers.
UP member Musa Rehna Begum said that they are working to stop child marriages but parents take their daughters to relatives’ homes in other areas and get them married. Many girls have gotten married during the time of the pandemic. Therefore, he thinks that there is a need to organize more awareness sessions for the parents of adolescents, and also to give importance to family planning.
Adolescent representative Adhara Shah Athai said that their school’s satellite clinic was closed during the COVID- 19 period. Since they were able to come to the school to submit assignments in this situation, they could have attended the session once a week. He also said that there is a lack of implementation of the law in the case of child marriage. Although her female classmate sought legal help to stop child marriage, the police administration did not take the matter seriously.
Dr. Molina Rani Baral, Sub-Assistant Community Medical Officer, said that the health center is open 24/7 hours a day for maternity health services. Health services were running even during the coronal lockdown. Although the patient’s pressure is high, there is not enough manpower. Additional manpower is essential to ensure better sexual and reproductive health care for adolescents.
Md. Mahtab Hossain Suruj, Chairperson of Adolescent Health Care Management and Coordination Committee, said that regular health services are provided to adolescents at Charbaria Union Health and Family Planning Center. However, the number of teenagers coming for services is very low. Therefore, he thinks their committee needs to do a lot more.
To establish Charbaria Union Health and Family Welfare Center as a model health service center for the youth, strengthen the Adolescent Health Care Management and Coordination Committee as per the government notification and organize awareness sessions with the adolescents to establish sexual and reproductive rights of the youth during the COVID-19 period. The initiative has been taken.
Check out the PMNCH video here: https://www.facebook.com/BangladeshModelYouthParliament/videos/211936607594542
Author: Sohanur Rahman, Executive Chief of Pratiki Youth Parliament