National Youth Conference on family planning ends with commitments for youth

The sixth session of Bangladesh National Youth Conference on Family Planning has ended on Wednesday at KIB, Dhaka and virtually with two days of sessions.

The conference host SERAC-Bangladesh was joined by its partners including Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, USAID, Bangladesh Youth Health Action Network (BYHAN), Coalition of Youth Organizations in Bangladesh (CYOB), Jhpiego, Population Action International (PAI), Marie Stopes Bangladesh, Population Reference Bureau (PRB), Pathfinder International and UNFPA Bangladesh in organizing this largest youth gathering in the country on reproductive health and family planning. More than five hundred of youths joined the event with theme “Commit And Act For Youth” where policy makers, high level government officials, international and national experts on health and family planning spoke and shared experience.

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The conference opening plenary was chaired by Dr. Mohammed Sharif, Director (MCH-Services); Line Director (MC-RAH), MCH-Services Unit of Directorate General of Family Planning, whereas attended by the former Director General of Family Planning Quazi AKM Mohiul Islam, UNFPA-Bangladesh, Chief of Health- Dr. Vibhavendra Raghuyamshi, Senior Country Director of Pathfinder International Bangladesh, Ms. Caroline Crosbie, Senior Program Officer of Advance Family Planning and youth speaker, Mr. Mervyn Christian, MPH and young city champion, UN-Habitat-Botnar, Md. Nazmul Hasan. In the first day, 500 young people joined in multiple session actively, conducted by Pathfinder International, Population Reference Bureau, Population Action International, IYAFP and others potential partners.

On the second and final day, the conference secretary general and SERAC-Bangladesh’s Executive Director SM Shaikat moderated the closing session chaired by Director General of Family Planning Shahan Ara Banu, NDC, and the Minister of Health and Family Welfare Zahid Maleque, MP joined as the chief guest. Speakers and special guests included UNFPA Country Representative Dr. Asa Torkelsson, Health Advisor of the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO) Dr. Shehlina Ahmed, and a youth representative Khadija Kalam. SM Shaikat on his speech highlighted, standard and scopes of the adolescent friendly health services needs expansion with more allocation of budget, and increasing numbers of service providers which is an area government and non-government actors have roles to play. Minister Zahid Maleque said that, adolescents are the futures of the country.

Government is trying its best to ensure health services at all levels in the country. The service facilities are equipped with information and services of family planning, sexual-reproductive health. He emphasized that the vision of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was to secure primary healthcare for everyone, and freedom from hunger, and poverty. This vision needs to focus more on the health and well-being of young population.

DGFP chief Shahan Ara Banu confirmed her departments commitments for youth and adolescents family planning service and information from national and grassroots levels. She reiterated that the National Adolescent Health Strategy 2017-2030 has been in operation to support the 1103 centers for adolescents service. It is also a priority to extend the service hours of these centers until 5pm, and the implementation is under progress.

The closing session was preceded by multiple plenary sessions by Jhpiego, UNFPA Bangladesh, Marie Stopes Bangladesh, CYOB, and Population Reference Bureau where experts, policy makers, and youth representatives shared their ideas and exchanged views to improve the current situations in the sector. The organizing host of this conference SERAC-Bangladesh declared the 7th season of this conference in 2022 during their closing remarks.

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