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UNFPA population report: Bangladesh has a whopping 59% child marriage rate

  • Published at 01:20 am April 18th, 2019
UNFPA population report 2019
Dignitaries present the UNFPA’s State of World Population 2019 at an event in Dhaka on Wednesday Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

The country ranks first in South Asian, and has come fourth globally

Despite efforts by both the government and NGOs, to bring down the rate of child marriage in Bangladesh, the rate is the highest in South Asia at 59%.

Bangladesh also ranked fourth globally in child marriage rates. 78 girls out of 1000 gave birth to their first child in Bangladesh in the last ten years as well.

The figure was revealed at UNFPA’s the State of World Population 2019 Report on Wednesday and the theme for the population report for this year is “Unfinished Business: The Pursuit of Rights and Choices for All.”

The report has been published since 1978  is used to give wider visibility to critical and emerging issues and trends in world population and demographics. 

According to the report, 59% of all marriages in Bangladesh from 2006-2017 was with a minor. This is the first time UNFPA included the issue in monitoring International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) goals: selected indicators. 

ICPD Programme of Action, was adopted to initiate a worldwide movement to give women real choices in life, the countries in the subcontinent showed better performances. 

In the report, Bangladesh is followed by Nepal with 40% child marriages and Afghanistan 35% in the subcontinent. 

In the top five all the countries except Bangladesh are from the African continent. Niger topped the rank with 76% during the same period. 

Bangladesh has also kept the title of having the third highest rate of adolescent mothers in the sub-continent in the last few years.   

Mia Seppo, UN resident coordinator in Bangladesh, said Bangladesh has been growing rapidly over the years, averaging more than 8% GDP growth every year but warned that rapidurbanizationbecause of the growth could cause newer problems. 

Bangladesh have the second highest number of contraceptive prevalence in the subcontinent keeping a gradual but slow growth over years. 

“The reality for many women in the rural, poorer areas is that they often lack access to modern contraceptives, disadvantaged by the fact that they marry younger in rural areas, she said adding that the use of modern contraceptives among married teenage girls (15 – 19) is low at 47%, compared to national average of 64%, and with 42% of them spacing their second birth less than the recommended time of three years after the first birth,” Seppo said. 

She warned: “We are not on track to deliver on the ambitions we set for ourselves. The data starting to emerge indicates that the world is not on track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.” 

State Minister for Health and Family Welfare Dr Murad Hassan at the event said that Bangladesh is committed to the realization of agendas set by ICPD in 1994. 

“We are optimistic that with our continued effort and multi-sectoral collaboration, we’ll soon be able to overcome the remaining challenges and build an equal Bangladesh for everyone regardless of their gender identity,” he said, adding that the country has already proved itself as a great champion of women’s empowerment.