A national level advocacy meeting on adolescent-friendly healthcare services was held at Dhaka on December 12, by SERAC-Bangladesh with the support from the Directorate General of Family Planning (DGFP), and Pathfinder International under the USAID Shukhi Jibon project.
The meeting was moderated by the Executive Director of SERAC-Bangladesh SM Shaikat with the Joint Secretary & Dhaka Divisional Director of Family Planning Md. Mahbubur Rahman in the chair, and the Director General (Grade-1) of the DGFP Shahan Ara Banu, NDC as the chief guest. Beside them Joint Secretary of Health, Education & Family Welfare Md. Abdus Salam Khan, Line Director of CCSDP Dr. Nurun Nahar Begum, Line Director of FP-FSDP Niajur Rahman, Line Director of IEM Unit Abdul Latif Molla, CSO Focal Point-FP2030 Dr. Abu Jamil Faisal, Deputy Director of Family Planning-Dhaka Mohammad Aman Ullah, Deputy Director of Family Planning-Narayanganj Swapan Kumar Sharma, Deputy Director of Family Planning- Mymensingh MD. Mahfuzul Karim, Deputy Director of Family Planning-Netrokona Niranjan Bandhu Dam, Director, Mohammadpur Fertility Services Center Dr. Muniruzzaman Siddiqui, Assistant Director (Coordination) of Directorate General of Family Planning (MCH) Md. Matiur Rahman, Assistant Director of CCSDP Dr. Md. Rafiqul Islam Talukdar and Program Manager of Adolescent & School Health from DGHS Dr. Shamsul Haque were also present on the occasion. In addition, the Pathfinder International’s technical director & FP specialist Dr. Sharmin Sultana, and 40 Volunteer Peer Leaders from 20 Adolescent friendly health service centers of Dhaka, Narayanganj, Mymensingh & Netrokona, Assistant Director of SERAC-Bangladesh Md. Salim Miah, Program Manager Tasnia Ahmed, Associate Program Officer Shafiullah Lemon, Associate Program Officer Songita Sarkar, Program Associate Lutfa Pathan, Finance and Admin Officer Omar Faruk Khan, Associate program Officer Md. Mahmudul Haque Suzan also joined the meeting.
Shahan Ara Banu, Director General of the DGFP speaking as the chief guest, said that besides VPLs, a number of volunteers should be recruited in the area so that family planning activities could be widely promoted. SM Shaikat, Executive Director of SERAC-Bangladesh, initiated an exchange of views to discuss in detail the various strategies and role of the project in implementing its goals, objectives, activities and promised that the organization will stay beyond the project to continue to support the programs of the government. Md. Mahbub Alam, Director, Divisional Family Planning Office, Dhaka, said that the message of family planning should reach the adolescents who are dropping out of school and college, madrasha with a volunteer team. Dr. Nurun Nahar Begum, Line Director of Clinical Contraception Services Delivery Program Unit, in her short speech suggested training to the VPLs and promoted VPL model in other centers and also put emphasis on adolescent married couple data analysis information. Md. Niajur Rahman; Line Director, FP-FSDP, give importance on Volunteer Peer Leader model sustainability, adolescent friendly services centers time extension.
Abdul Latif Molla, Line Director of IEM Unit, promised to provide SBCC materials, LED Tv, Hard disk with adolescent health, family planning, sexual and reproductive health related information. Dr. Abu Jamil Faisal, CSO Focal Point, FP2030, gives importance to counselors in every adolescent friendly health services center. Dr. Muniruzzaman Siddiqui, Director, Mohammadpur Fertility Services Center, said that clinical training and guidance on proper service giving is needed for VPLs.
Mitu Akter, VPL, Tetuljhora Union Sastho O Poribar Kollan Kendro, put emphasis on adolescent services and training centers data inclusion on DGFP MIS. Kamran Miah, VPL, stated that after completion of the project in April, 2023, the government initiative to continue the VPL model and extend the model in other areas can encourage adolescents to have the services. The volunteer peer leaders may role play as ambassador and can help the service providers accordingly to strengthen the health facilities.
The purpose of the meeting was to exchange views on the sustainability of youth volunteer integration in adolescent-friendly healthcare centers as part of family planning activities and the expansion of volunteer leaders’ activities and recommended the facilitation of quality services for adolescents through inclusive initiatives. The speakers and guests opined to increase this service across the country, the inclusion of age specific data in the DGFP MIS, DGHS collaboration, adolescent service quality improvement, service provider’s accountability and adoption of this adolescent engagement model and affirmed their consideration to evaluate the outcome of the integration of volunteers and its scaling up based on positive feedback.