The Bangladesh 5th National Youth Conference on Family Planning (BNYCFP2020) is going to be hosted on October 16-17, 2020 at Krishibid Institution of Bangladesh, Dhaka, maintaining a physical distance session with the Tagline “Connecting Youth Virtually and Globally” where about 500 hundred youth participants and international speakers will join and interact on health, family planning, and social issues. Since 2016, SERAC-Bangladesh is organizing this annual national youth conference for the 5th time to advance common grounds to advocate for young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights and influence policy makers to ensure that. Nearly five hundred youth representatives from all across the country are going to take part virtually in the two days conference through eight plenary sessions, three parallel sessions, networking opportunities and skill building workshops.
SERAC-Bangladesh is joined by Bangladesh Youth Health Action Network (BYHAN), UNFPA Bangladesh, Right Here Right Now, Marie Stopes Bangladesh, Coalitions of Youth Organizations in Bangladesh (CYOB), Pathfinder International, Options Consultancy Limited, UKAID, Plan International, Population Services and Training Center and UBR Alliance on this year’s conference. This conference in hybrid style will focus on giving the youth participants refreshing commitments beyond Family Planning (FP) 2020 and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) during and beyond COVID19 pandemic, as well as an opportunity to reflect on policy dimensions of FP in Bangladesh’s development paradigm. Notably this is the first ever national conference on youth family planning in the world that only focuses on young people and their reproductive health. The idea is family planning and reproductive health rights are not only for the married people but for all young people. Despite many advancements around this issue, almost one-third of pregnancies in the country are still unintended because of unwillingness of contraceptive use. 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 mother or pregnant by the age of 19 (UNDP, 2016). The Bangladesh Demographic Health Survey 2014 also found that about 31% of adolescent girls have begun childbearing before the age of 20; one in four given birth and 6% are pregnant with their first child. The Directorate General of Family Planning (2013) also added that only 47% of adolescent married girls between 15-19 years have access to contraceptive methods in Bangladesh. Due to COVID19 pandemic only the speakers and panelists will be attending the conference physically at the venue maintaining social distances and the youth delegates will participate through online registration with a web portal.
Minister of Education Dr. Dipu Moni, MP will join as the chief guest, Md. Ali Noor, Secretary, Health Education and Family Welfare Division, Shahan Ara Banu NDC, Director General, Directorate General of Family Planning (DGFP) will also join the opening plenary. In addition Dr. Asa Torkelsson, Representative of UNFPA Bangladesh, Dr. Bardan Jung Rana, Representative of WHO Country Office Bangladesh, H. E. Harry Verweij, Ambassador to Bangladesh, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Caroline Crosbie, Senior Country Director of Pathfinder International, Bangladesh, Dr. Halida Hanum Akhter, Senior Associate, Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Dr. Ubaidur Rob, Country Director of Population Council, Bangladesh, Ms. Alexandra Johns, Executive Director, Asia Pacific Alliance for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (APA), Chonghee Choi Hwang Senior Manager, Asia, FP2020, United Nations Foundation, Emily Sullivan, Manager, FP2020, United Nations Foundation and representative from different national and international organizations will join as panelists and deliver speeches on different sessions.
At the press conference at National Press Club on October 13, the conference secretary general and executive director of SERAC-Bangladesh SM Shaikat, Dr. Noor Mohammad, Executive Director of Population Services and Training Center and Chair of UBR Alliance, Dr. Nadira Sultana, Country Lead of Options Consultancy Services Ltd, Dr. Sanjida Hasan, Country Manager of IPPF, Md. Mahabub Sharker, Convenor of Bangladesh Youth Health Action Network, SERAC program officers Tasnia Ahmed, and Rokonol Rabbi, organizing committee member Abu Huraira, Executive Director of Kopot Youth Foundation Romjan Hossain Anaj, and representatives from Coalition of Youth Organizations in Bangladesh (CYOB) attended and shared their speeches.