Youth Claiming of Ensuring Reproductive Health Rights

SERAC-Bangladesh under USAID Shukhi Jibon Project, supported by Pathfinder International Bangladesh observed the ‘International Youth Day 2021’ on August 11, 2021 at Symbiosis Friendship Tower, Mymensign, where 100+ 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, Dr. Abu Jamil Faisel, FP2030 CSO Focal Point- Bangladesh, Mr. Anisur Rahman, Deputy Director of District Family Planning Office, Netrokona; Mr. Kazi Mahfuzul Karim, Assistant Director of Divisional Family Planning Office, Mymensingh, Mr. Mahdi Hasan Khan, Upazila Family Planning Officer, Md. Salim Miya, Assistant Director (program) of SERAC-Bangladesh and Md. Azizur Rahman, Adolescent and Youth Coordinator, Pathfinder International Bangladesh joined the discussion and Mahmudul Haque Suzan
facilitated the session.

At first, Khadija Kalam introduced the overview and present status of accessing youth and adolescent health rights and discussed how Shukhi Jibon-SERAC is working in all 20 health centers with the 40 Volunteer peer leaders.
Dr. Abu Jamil Faisel stated that adolescents will be more active in taking actions to spread SRH knowledge and information among themselves. 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, except those 20 adolescent centers under Shukhi Jibon-SERAC project, adolescent volunteer peer leaders must be included in other adolescent centers.

Mr. Anisur Rahman added that sexuality education must be ensured and parents should be more motivated to talk about sexual health and rights with their children and other family members. Beside physical, sexual and mental education and health, reproductive health service is a fundamental right that must be assured. He also added-“One-third of the population of the country are young people. If this large number of people become healthy, wise and work together, this country will be one of the developed countries soon”.

Mr. Kazi Mahfuzul Karim stressed more on getting priority to adolescent services during COVID-19 pandemic. Adolescents must be more conscious about taking children, especially in COVID-19 situations to avoid spreading the virus. More than that, a joint collaborative approach of GO-NGO must be taken to reduce child marriage rate and ensuring nutritious to the adolescent mothers.

Mr. Mahdi Hasan Khan appraised SERAC-Bangladesh and the initiatives taken under USAID’s Shukhi Jibon Project of integrating young people in the adolescent centers so that age and gender specific SRH knowledge and information can be ensured. He also stressed on community mobilization and community empowerment around SRH and FP knowledge. So the Family Planning Department is working to ensure friendly services to all young people for developing youth’s health needs.

Mr. Md. Salim Miya said that the 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 Volunteer peer leaders (VPL) said that volunteers are doing and contributing for ensuring SRH services willingly. So they should be prioritized more in the decision making process. So it will be easy to provide services to all of the adolescents locally when they are empowered.

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.

Among others- 20 Volunteer Peer leaders of Adolescent Friendly health Centers, Mymensingh youth representatives, SERAC-Bangladesh representatives Tasnia Ahmed, Khadija Kalam, Md. Azizul Haque and Probal Roy were also present there.

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