Bangladesh has practiced a progressive rate of contraceptive prevalence rate in less than forty years from 8% in 1975 to 62% in 2014, whereas the total fertility rate is 2.0%. Though sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) are fundamental rights for youth, they continue to face challenges in accessing them. For example, the topic of SRHR in Bangladesh remains difficult to discuss openly, particularly among adolescents despite its importance in this stage of their life. The need for SRHR and family planning (FP) information and services are increasing, close to 62% to 82%. Despite this advancement, almost one-third of pregnancies are still unintended because of unwillingness to use contraceptives.
Bangladesh has the highest adolescent fertility rate in South Asia where 1 girl in 10 has a child before the age of 15 whereas 1 in 3 adolescents becomes a mother or pregnant by the age of 19 (UNDP, 2016). The BDHS 2014 also found that about 31% of adolescent girls begin childbearing before the age of 20; one in four give birth and 6% are pregnant with their first child (BDHS, 2014). Family Planning Department (2013) also added that only 47% of adolescent married girls between 15-19 years have access to contraceptive methods in Bangladesh.
The SDGs call for universal access to family planning by 2030. Today, more than 300 million women have access to modern family planning, but over 200 million do not, and 25 million unsafe abortions take place every year worldwide. Despite a target to reach 120 million more women and girls in the world’s 69 poorest countries with modern contraceptives by 2020, there have been only 46 million new users, so increment of commitment periods must be considered. Again, only a few women and girls who are educated, have a little knowledge about SRHR and FP. Almost 36 percent of women or girls do not have ideas or knowledge about SRHR and are mostly ignored or deprived of their sexual and reproductive rights. Considering their needs, SERAC-Bangladesh with the support of Asia Pacific Alliance for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (APA), has conducted a mini pilot study to get the actual status of women’s access to SRH services, especially those who are outside of any institutionalized study.
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