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World Population Day 2017 | United Nations Population Fund | Bangladesh

World Population Day 2017

World Population Day 2017

Family Planning: Empowering People, Developing Nations

Planning if and when to have children is one of the most important decisions a person can make in their lifetime.It is every individual’s right.

Globally, 214 million women who want to avoid pregnancy, however, arecurrently not using safe and effective family planning methods. Especially adolescent girls and women who have recently given birthare facing a high unmet need for family planning. In Bangladesh, 12 percent of married women are not accessing any method of their choice.  

 

Investing in Lives and Futures

Zobayeda used to be one of these women and experienced immense suffering because of a lack of family planning and access to a skilled birth attendant. The young woman from Moulvibazargot married when she was only 16.As is customary in many parts of Bangladesh,she wasn’t able to access information let alone services for family planning.

After quickly becoming pregnant when married, she moreover didn’t have a skilled birth attendant, such as a midwife, to support her during her pregnancy and childbirth. The consequence: Zobayeda lost her first baby and developed obstetric fistula.

Today, she is mother to a young boy and runs her own successful small business, sewing cement bags. Zobayeda’s story has a happy ending in part becauseshe and her husband are now aware of the choices they have and can access their preferred method of contraception. Zobayeda is one of millions of women who have proven that investing in family planning is investing in the health and rights of women and couples.

As is the case for Zobayeda, investments also yield economic and other gains. But first and foremost, a person’s ability to plan the timing and size of her or his family is a human right and can prevent illness, suffering and even death.

 

Challenges that Lie Ahead

The enormous progress Bangladesh has made in enabling women and men to make informed decisions has come to a standstill over the last few years.  Today, Bangladesh’s family planning program is facing considerable challenges at various fronts.

In 2012, the Government of Bangladesh committed to the global Family Planning 2020 (FP2020) initiative, setting targets to be achieved by 2020. This July, a summit in London is reexamining the progress made so farand looking at current challenges which could prevent not just the attainment of the FP2020 targets but even thelarger Sustainable Development Goals. 

Though there are challenges, they are not insurmountable. Stronger political commitment, an increase in investments in family planning, innovations in programme delivery and reaching marginalized populations could change the family planning landscape of the country.

 

Championing Family Planning

UNFPA has been working for decades to allow women and men to make informed choices about their futures. In 2016, contraceptives provided by UNFPA had the potential to prevent 11.7 million unintended pregnancies, close to 3.7 million unsafe abortions and prevent an estimated 29,000 maternal deaths.

On this year’s World Population Day, as UNFPA works together with national and international partners to fulfill the sexual and reproductive needs and rights of women and men around the world, we remain committed to the work of the late UNFPA Executive Director, Dr. BabtundeOsotimehin who is remembered as a champion of family planning throughout the world:

“For women to reach their full potential and be more economically productive, they must be able to exercise their right to decide for themselves whether, when or how often to have children. Upholding this right will lead to improvements in health and produce an array of benefits: greater investments in schooling, greater productivity, greater labour-force participation and eventually increased income, savings, investment and asset accumulation.”

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