Reproductive rights of women still neglected in Bangladesh

Hiren Pandit : Reproductive health is a part of overall health and not limited to maternal health. From the birth of a child to infancy, adolescence, youth, and adulthood, reproductive health is involved at every level, that is, all men and women are covered by reproductive health services. Reproductive health is a state of physical, mental and social well-being that applies to both men and women.

This is how the definition of reproductive health was presented at the 1994 International Population Development Conference in Cairo, based on the definition of the World Health Organization: “Reproductive health does not only mean the absence of diseases or ailments related to the activities of the reproductive system and the reproductive process, but it is also a condition of performing the reproductive process through a healthy state of physical, mental, and social well-being.”

The right to reproductive health is part of an internationally recognised and established human right. Reproductive health rights are closely linked to the dignity and development of women. The International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo in 1994 and the Fourth Women’s Conference in Beijing in 1995 identified women’s empowerment as an integral part of development for the first time and included the right to family planning in improved reproductive and sexual health.

One of the major achievements of the International Conference on Population and Development is the identification and establishment of reproductive and sexual health rights. To exercise the right to reproductive health, that is, to make various decisions regarding reproductive health, such as choosing different family planning methods, upholding women’s rights in determining the number of children, the right to privacy, obtaining a copy of the services received and adequate information very important.

The Government of Bangladesh has given importance to the formulation of various policies and strategies in the field of health in the light of Sustainable Development Goals 3, Health and Well-being. To provide information, the government has developed the Right to Service Charter and Citizens’ Charter and has taken necessary steps in this regard. Moreover, the issue of providing information has also come up in various health policies and strategies.

The government enacted the ‘Right to Service Charter’ in 1994 to create an environment for the exercise of the right to health of the people and the right to reproductive health. The charter provides for the right of service recipients to know about the services available at different levels of service centers. In 2008, the Citizens’ Charter was formulated to provide services to the people in the healthcare centers. The charter provides information on the types of reproductive health services available to people at the district, upazila, union, and ward levels.

The policies and strategies formulated by the Bangladesh government in the field of health care are Health, Nutrition, and Population Sector Programme, Bangladesh Population Policy, National Strategy on HIV/AIDS, Adolescent Reproductive Health Strategy, Poverty Alleviation Strategy, etc. Lack of adequate information is the main barrier to accessing any service for the poor. There is still a lack of adequate information on reproductive health. Adequate flow of information on reproductive health Adequate information on reproductive health for the poor will help people to fully exercise their ‘right to health (reproduction)’.

What is reproductive health? Why is the protection of reproductive health important? How do ensure the protection of reproductive health? Where to go to get services for reproductive health issues? Information on how much it will cost, etc., will make the poor more interested in reproductive health care.

When a poor woman gets accurate information about reproductive health, she will feel the urge to protect her health. In this way, awareness will increase. A detailed list of services available to the public at a particular health center will facilitate access to services for the public. Reproductive health services for marginalised adolescents will be easier to access. If the client knows about her rights, she will be able to exercise her rights to the fullest. In upazila, union health complexes, and community clinics, medicines are often bought less or medicines are not available when needed. If the people have the necessary information about the amount of medicine allotted per month and day of a particular center, they can take the necessary action by revealing the cause of these problems. If the names, titles, and time of duty of the doctors on duty at the specified center are mentioned, the people will be able to know it and will be able to go to the concerned doctors if necessary. Moreover, the people of the area concerned can protest against the doctors who spend their time in personal business purposes, neglecting office work.
The right to know about reproductive health issues

Women and adolescents have a right to safe motherhood and reproductive health, especially for women and adolescents. That is why they have the right to information related to reproductive health. This information is about what safe motherhood or what to do about it; details of pregnancy risks so that they can identify pregnancy risks or complications on their own and go to the service center for help promptly; information on diseases caused by complications in pregnancy or maternal illness and ways to get rid of these diseases or dangers; information about sexually transmitted diseases and symptoms.

Burgeoning population is currently a major problem in Bangladesh. Family planning can play a significant role in preventing the unplanned population of the country. Moreover, family planning is essential for family well-being and the proper upbringing of children, which can be done through family planning. Through family planning, a woman, a man, and a capable couple can exercise their reproductive and sexual rights. Such as in the case of unwanted contraception, in determining the use of birth control methods, in the conception of the desired time, in taking the birth of one’s choice, in determining the number of children according to the age of the parents and the number of children in the family; Just as women have the right to know about the various methods of family planning (permanent and temporary), they also have the right to know about its side-effects or benefits.

Reproductive health services require the protection of the privacy of service recipients. This privacy is subject to the right of the service recipient during the consultation or checkup. But many times, they do not get that environment

They also have the right to know where to get the family planning methods of their choice. Adolescents in our country suffer from a variety of reproductive health problems. Adolescents, in particular, are at risk of child marriage, early motherhood, and reproductive health risks. Moreover, the mortality rate of adolescent mothers and newborns in Bangladesh at a young age is much higher than the maternal and neonatal mortality rate at the national level. The country’s socio-cultural environment often hinders adolescents from accessing information about reproductive health. There is also a lack of formal education among them. If accurate information on reproductive health is readily available at the right time. In particular, child marriage and adolescent motherhood and the problems caused by them can be prevented. Women have a right to know where reproductive health information is available. Moreover, women have every right to know what kind of treatment is available in the service centers, what is the price of the service, when or when the prescribed service will be available, what kind of examination system is available and how much they cost when it can be done.

At the district, upazila, union, and ward levels, information about reproductive health can be obtained by visiting anyone. There should be continuity in healthcare. For example, continuity of treatment is very important in these cases as gestational care, postpartum and postpartum care, etc. are continuous. We have a right to know what is continuous treatment or follow-up. This information and the doctor will provide assistance and advice to the patient after the use of the medicine prescribed by the doctor in case of serious illness. This is called the right to secure and continuous service.

Reproductive health services require the protection of the privacy of service recipients. This privacy is subject to the right of the service recipient during the consultation or checkup. But many times, they do not get that environment. As well as all recorded information on reproductive health treatment, the client’s right to seek confidentiality is also a right. If it is necessary to transfer all such recorded information, the permission of the service recipient must be obtained. All of these are included in the ‘Right to Privacy in Reproductive Health Care’.

  • Hiren Pandit is a columnist and researcher

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