SERAC-Bangladesh organized a discussion meeting with youth and experts on Wednesday ahead of the ‘International Youth Day 2022’ in Dhaka, where 100 young people joined the advocacy convening with the theme Intergenerational Solidarity connecting with the improvement of quality services at the Adolescent friendly health services centers, together with government officials and other SRHR stakeholders. This was arranged under the USAID Shukhi Jibon Project, supported by Pathfinder International Bangladesh
In the event, Divisional Director (Joint Secretary) of Directorate General of Family Planning Md. Mahabub Alam was the chief guest. Beside this, Executive Director of SERAC-Bangladesh, SM Shaikat, Deputy Director of District Family Planning-Dhaka Mohammad Aman Ullah; Deputy Director of District Family Planning Office- Narayanganj; Md. Shahjalal, CSO Focal Point, FP2030; Dr. Abu Jamil Faisel; Adolescent & Youth Manager; Dr. Pervin Akter, Adolescent & Youth Coordinator, Mr. Bashir Ahmed, District Program Officer, Ms. Sharmin Akter of Pathfinder International- Bangladesh (Shukhi Jibon) joined the discussion. The meeting was moderated by, Assistant Director of SERAC-Bangladesh, Md. Salim Miah.
SERAC-Bangladesh’s Associate program officer Songita Sarker welcomed all participants and discussed the overview of how 40 VPL’s (volunteer peer leaders) contribute to the reproductive health service provisions by working in 20 adolescent friendly health centers, by the Directorate General of Family Planning.
SM Shaikat extended a cordial greeting to all authorities and youth representatives. The government has to focus more and have a solid strategy in place to guarantee youth-friendly, high-quality health care, and VPLs are essential in enhancing the offerings at youth-friendly medical facilities. He stressed the need of taking into account the DGFP Adolescent Friendly Health Offerings Centers’ high-quality services.
Md. Mahbub Alam put importance to maintaining the management information systems and appreciated the counseling & referral services given by Youth on pre-menstruation, premenstrual services in AFHSCs. He emphasizes the health service of people with special needs to ensure the collaboration with the stakeholders. He vowed to raise awareness among the community members about the adolescents’ reproductive health issues and also gave priority in ensuring and promoting reproductive health services. Information, service and referral systems must be taken as actions on ensuring SRH information and knowledge.
Dr. Abu Jamil Faisel stated that adolescents will be more active in taking actions to spread SRH knowledge and information among themselves through trust Building, cooperation, pro-active communication and addressing challenging behavior. He emphasized the need to prevent child marriage and that parents need to be worried about it. When it comes to physically and digitally retrieving SRH/FP information, youth and adolescents can be creative. In order for knowledge to be shared among kids and adolescents, SERAC needs to establish a strong network with them.
Mohammad Aman Ullah remarked Young Volunteer peer leaders can make changes in society with their support and also they should learn from their experience and they can be a future mentor for other youth and community people. Parents should be extra cautious when giving their children SRH facts and knowledge because adolescent bodily changes are to be expected. Youth development and empowerment should get funding from the government, the community, and policymakers so that this investment may benefit economic empowerment.
Md. Shahajalal, discoursed quality services should be ensured in the adolescent friendly health centers by collaboration of service provider & Youth so that they could be empowered on accessing services and can contribute to achieving national adolescent health strategy & SDG goal. 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.
Dr. Pervin Akter, congratulated all the VPLs and youth representatives of the youth and community stakeholders who joined the day celebration. She appreciated youths who make active contributions on AFHSCs. She stated about campaigning health programs on special schools for ensuring health.
Md. Salim Miah concluded that, 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.
One of the youth representatives, Sumaiya stated that if capacity building workshops of youth and service providers collaboratively are developed, then it is only then possible to ensure health rights for all.
One of the VPLs, Arafat said that, government should take steps to expand promotional steps of AFHSCs, Pre-counseling and proper Management Information System (MIS) data in websites so that everyone must be aware of accessing services.
Among others- 20 Volunteer Peer leaders of Adolescent Friendly health Centers, Dhaka and Narayanganj, youth representatives, SERAC-Bangladesh’s representatives, Communication & Outreaches Officer- Mizanur Rahman Pavel; SBCC Officer- Khadija Kalam, Monowar Hossain, MD. Nazmul Hasan, M&E associate- Lutfa Pathan, Finance & Admin Officer- Md. Omar Faruk Khan, and Finance & Admin Associate Faruk Ahmed were also present there.
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