Free family planning services now at two medical colleges
"It is not possible to change the national picture without engaging private medical colleges and hospitals in government's family planning program," said Dr Md Moinuddin Ahmed, the line director, Clinical Contraception and service delivery program of the Directorate General of Family Planning (DGFP) on Sunday.
Considering the reality, DGFP, Marie Stopes Bangladesh and two private hospitals, Anower Khan Modern College Hospital and Popular Medical College Hospital have signed a try parties MoU to create more access to Family Planning and reproductive health services in Dhaka. This initiative is an important example of public-private partnership and a critical opportunity to reach to family planning services.
The Directorate General of Family Planning (DGFP) followed through on its commitment to support family planning corners at two private medical college hospitals in Dhaka now started to supply contraceptive commodities for the corners, which offer pills, condoms, intrauterine devices (IUDs), implants, and tubal ligation. The corners opened earlier this year and offer free inpatient and outpatient counseling and services for clients.
To make his comments, Dr Md Moinuddin Ahmed also noted that government's commitment to decrease the unmet needs for family planning, is also government's one of goals of FP2020, could be possible if it includes private medical colleges and hospitals and provide an effective family planning method.
It is an evident that if we can give a mother an effective short acting method like pills through motivational counseling, then at least for six months we can save her from unwanted pregnancy.
"If we successfully stop a mother from becoming pregnant for six month and later convince her to receive long acting methods, then it would definitely help strengthening mother's help and her existing child because of timing and space that ensures a healthy pregnancy," he said
"Such time and space are very important especially for mother and existing children grown up," he further added.
"Private hospital is playing an important role in ensuring maternal health and other services across the country" said Dr Mohammed Sharif Director, (MCH- Services) & Line Director (MCRAH) of Directorate General of Family Planning.
"There are about 47 per cent institutional delivery is happening in our country, of them only 15 per cent delivery happens in public hospitals, rest delivery takes place in private hospitals," he said while talking to the Daily Observer in his office.
Witnessing this reality, government have decided to spread family planning health services to private hospitals, clinics and medical colleges, giving special focus on Post-partum services to implement.
"Already we have issued a circular with the approval of two DG, Family Planning and Health Services, including post-partum family planning services. Multiple family planning methods will be available in these hospitals," he said.
Appreciating Marie Stops Bangladesh's technical support for this programme, he said that they are playing an important role to create a bridge between the government and the private medical colleges and hospitals. In Bangladesh the unwanted pregnancy rate is about 65-70 per cent, many experts think that this rate could be decreased if proper family services are available in the private hospitals.
Many research reports suggest that family planning always plays an important role in ensuring maternal health like if a mother gives birth of her first baby, just then her unwanted sudden pregnancy could be prevented through introducing a proper family planning method.
Md Masrurul Islam, Country Director of Marie Stopes Bangladesh, said that the private hospitals could play a significant role for the success of the post-partum family planning services. In Bangladesh there are about 5.3 million number of pregnancy happens in every year, of them 2.5 million is intended pregnancy, and rest are 2.8 million is unwanted pregnancy.
In addition, among 2.8 million there are about 1.6 million women face miscarriages or abortion, and about seven percent mother dies due to unsaved MR or abortion, in this situation family planning is very important, he said."We can prevent such vicious cycle by giving a mother a long acting method just after giving birth of her first baby, and then we can prevent such unexpected death," he said.
Beginning in April 2018, Marie Stopes Bangladesh explored options for policy action on the issue.
Monjun Nahar, Manager, Advocacy and Communication, said that primarily they have chosen two private hospitals as a pilot but they have plan to include more in future.
She noted that young people and adolescents in Bangladesh face significant barriers to information and services.
Almost half of the adolescent girls 15 to 19 are married and 17per cent have an unmet need for family planning [BDHS].
In urban areas, most people rely on private clinics and hospitals for their healthcare but such healthcare centers are rarely equipped to provide quality, comprehensive family planning services. In addition, public, government-run facilities in Dhaka struggle to meet the growing demand for services.
Prof Kohinoor Begum, Head, Department of Gynecology & Obstetrics of Popular Medical College and Hospital, said that besides maternal health, we also need to address the youth and adolescent reproductive health issue for our better healthy future. She added that we are happy for being a partner of DGFP and MSB and hope that this collaboration would contribute to improve women lives.
Professor Dr Iffat Ara, Department of Gynecology & Obstetrics, Popular Medical College and Hospital, said that they are planning to arrange an orientation programme in the city college to discuss on various issues with adolescent.
Professor Dr Sehereen F Siddiqua, Head, Department of Gynecology & Obstetrics, Answer Khan Modern Medical College and Hospital, on Monday said that family planning is not only about birth planning issue rather it is all about human's right.
" It is possible to reach our desired goals if a person can avail family planning information and chalk out a proper planning relating to a family life at the very early stage of life," She added that family planning helps to improve maternal health as well as provide scope for living a productive life, especially for women.
We are happy to take part with our government in this journey. She thanked Marie Stopes for taking such initiative.