SERAC-Bangladesh under USAID Shukhi Jibon Project, supported by Pathfinder International Bangladesh observe the ‘International Youth Day 2021’ on August 12, 2021 in Dhaka, where young people joined the discussion meeting on raising awareness about Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) information and services among adolescents and youths through adolescent friendly health centers with the policy makers on steps to be taken to increase awareness and demand generation of concrete actions among adolescents in taking health services. In the event, Mr. Md. Shariful Islam Divisional Director (Additional Secretary) of Directorate general of Family Planning was the chief guest. Beside this, Mr. Md. Mizanur Rahman, Deputy Director of District Family Planning Office; Mr. Md. Shahjalal, Assistant Director of District Family Planning Office- Narayanganj; Dr. Manjur Hossain, Assistant Director (MCH- Services Unit) of Directorate General of Family Planning and Mr. Sohrab Hussain, Adolescent Behavior Change Manager of Pathfinder International- Bangladesh (Shukhi Jibon) joined the discussion meeting. The meeting was moderated by SM Shaikat, Executive Director of SERAC-Bangladesh.
Tasnia Ahmed introduced the overview and present status of accessing youth and adolescent reproductive health rights, accessibility of comprehensive sexuality health and discussed how Shukhi Jibon-SERAC is working in all 20 health centers with the 40 Volunteer peer leaders.
SM Shaikat made a warm welcome to all officials and youth representatives in the beginning of the meeting. Government needs to put more concentration and have an effective plan to ensure youth friendly quality health services, where those appointed VPLs can play a vital role to improvise the services in the adolescent friendly health centers. He emphasized to consider revising the service hours and quality services of Adolescent Friendly Health Services Corners of DGFP.
Mr. Md. Shariful Islam stressed on reducing child marriage and parents should be concerned about it. Youth and adolescents can make creativity on accessing SRH/FP information manually and digitally. SERAC should create a strong network with the youth and adolescents so that information must be split between other adolescents and youth. Zoom platform or any other digital platform can be utilized significantly so that the information can be taken from home or in any convenience platform, which will help to develop the county’s empowerment and economic development. This will securitize and make certain to the young people in SDGs where all the information and opportunities of youth from grassroots level to national level can be utilized properly.
Dr. Md. Monjur Hossain
A multi-tasking capacity development should be developed through the youth representatives life-skill based education campaigns. Raising awareness among guardians and communities about the adolescents’ reproductive health issues also takes priority in ensuring and promoting reproductive health services. Information, service and referral systems must be taken as actions on ensuring SRH information and knowledge.
Mr. Md. Mizanur Rahman
Adolescent body transformation is expectable and parents should be more careful to provide SRH information and knowledge. Government, community and policy makers should invest in youth empowerment and youth development so that this investment can add value in the economic empowerment. Even the Government has already taken actions on women empowerment where education must be ensured to make encouragement possible. Medical MR, FP methods and information must be assured. He also added, “SERAC-Bangladesh VPL’s are welcome in the centers, so that our centers can ensure quality and standard services to adolescents and youth.” He also welcomes SERAC-Bangladesh and the VPL team in the office for any guidance and assistance. He also proposed to provide technical training to the VPLs under foundation training for introducing the DGFP strategy and mechanisms.
Mr. Md. Shahjalal
Contraceptives, FP information, SRH Services and Nutrition are the most fundamental rights under sexual and reproductive health and rights. Beside this, quality services should be ensured in the adolescent friendly health centers so that they could be empowered on accessing services. Other than that, they will take actions and assist the VPLS in the adolescent friendly health centers under Shukhi Jibon-SERAC project in Narayanganj.
Mr. Sohrab Hussain
He congratulated all the VPLs and youth representatives of the youth and adolescents who join the day celebration and make active contributions. In 2002, a research was conducted to understand the SRH needs among adolescents, where it was brought out that because of improper social structure and taboos, the SRH information was not split out significantly. The wrong information can distract the adolescents and youth, and the consequences can be hazardous and create a risky situation for the adolescents on accessing SRH services as a gender and age specific approach.
Mr. Md. Salim Miah
Government needs to put more concentration and have an effective plan to ensure youth friendly health services. He emphasized to consider ensuring SRH services in the Adolescent Friendly Health Service Centers. Practices must be started and groomed among adolescents and youth.
One of the youth representatives added that when young people are empowered and developed, they will add value in ensuring economic empowerment. When they utilize their creativity, it is only then possible to ensure youth health rights.
One of the VPLs added that, sexuality education must be ensured and adolescent friendly teachers must be appointed and teachers should teach reproductive health information so that adolescents must be aware of accessing services.
Among others- 20 Volunteer Peer leaders of Adolescent Friendly health Centers, Dhaka and Narayanganj, youth representatives, SERAC-Bangladesh representatives Md. Mahabub Sharkar, Khadija Kalam, Nusrat Sharmin Resma, Mahisun Rashti, Md. Faisal and Uzzel Dey were also present there.