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Can government emphasize family planning enough?

  • Published at 12:13 pm June 30th, 2019
web-family planning-hospital
File photo of service seekers waiting in an Urban Primary Health Care Services Delivery point in Dhaka Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

The allocation for health and family welfare sector in the budget for the new fiscal year is Tk25,732 crore

Family planning is among the few factors that have played a role in enlisting Bangladesh as a developing country.

When Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal presented a Tk523,190-crore budget proposal in the parliament for the fiscal year 2019-20, the allocation for health and family welfare sector was only Tk25,732 crore. 

According to data analysis, the operational expenditure of the health care department is Tk10,700 crore, development cost is Tk9,936 crore, the expenditure of health education and family welfare department is Tk3,457 crore, and development expenditure is Tk2,330 crore.

In the new fiscal year, the total allocation for health sector is 1.02% of GDP, and 5.63% of the total budget. 

“The allocation in the medical sector is not enough. More allocation will be needed in the family planning sector,” said National Health Rights Movement Convener Professor Rashid-e Mahbub.

Several people told this correspondent that working with family planning issues during the 1970s 1980s was really challenging.

“The development of the country means the development of all. So, the government is emphasizing on family planning, even the allocation has been increased in the sector,” Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen said.

Also Read- Can more male participation help with family planning?

Meanwhile, a senior official of the Family Planning Department, who wished to remain anonymous, said that an estimated health expenditure of Tk115,486 crore for the period of January 2017 to June 2022, the fourth health population and nutrition sector program (4th HPNSP), in the health sector is being implemented. Under the project, quality of medical education, and health and family planning services are being upgraded and provided across the country through 29 operational plans. About 84% of the program is being funded by the government.

According to the government, currently there are 13,779 community clinics across the country where normal birth delivery services are being provided, along with other services. About 40 people receive services from each clinic every day, and 80% of them are women and children.

Experts say that in developing countries, including Bangladesh, family planning should see effective steps and programs.

“It is quite clear from various research that family planning protects lives and improves mother and child health. Recently, Bangladesh has stepped on to the path of a developing country. There are many real limitations. Money is the driving force of all and it is not possible to achieve the goal for Bangladesh overnight. It is remarkable that the rate of maternal mortality has decreased,” said Dr Sadeka Chowdhury Moni, assistant professor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University's neonatal department.

However, people concerned say that most of the allocation is being spent on nonprofit sectors. But in the modern way, if budgetary allocation, proper management, monitoring and accountability are ensured, the common people will get the benefit.

“Family planning should be given special emphasis in regards to the welfare of our people and the country. We cannot achieve our Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) without emphasizing on the family planning sector. The budget that is allocated for this sector is not enough at all. It should be increased and we have to work more to achieve the SGDs," said Abdul Latif Mollah, deputy director of Information Education Motivation unit, Directorate General of Family Planning.

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