Bangladesh – Increased budget must come with policy changes, utilisation

Experts hail allocation in family planning, but wary of planning

July 06, 2020
Nilima Jahan

The budget allocation in health and family welfare has seen a steady increase in the past few years. This year, the amount increased by 13.66 percent, standing at Tk 29,247 crore.

Although the increased allocation appears to be a step in the right direction, family planning experts believe that the higher budgets are not being utilised in a planned manner.


Bangladesh – Abortion – offence or a right?

Abortion – offence or a right?

Dr. Syeda Nasrin
May 30, 2020

Bangladesh does not recognise 'abortion' as a right rather considers the same as an offence under the garb of the term 'miscarriage'. Abortion indicates the intentional termination of pregnancy whereas miscarriage is the spontaneous or unplanned expulsion of a fetus from the womb. Keeping the distinction between 'abortion' and 'miscarriage' aside, this article discusses the legal landscape of Bangladesh regarding 'abortion' with a comparative analysis of USA, UK and India.

Section 312 of the Penal Code, 1860 provides that whoever voluntarily causes a pregnant woman to miscarry, shall, if such miscarriage be not caused in good faith for the purpose of saving the life of the woman, be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or both.


Keeping women’s health essential despite Covid-19 shortages

Keeping women's health essential despite Covid-19 shortages

Opinion by Anu Kumar
Thu May 7, 2020
(Video: Fear, panic as women navigate pregnancy during a pandemic, 02:59)

(CNN)The world is changing daily as a result of Covid-19. Like millions of people, I now have a virtual workday. I am fortunate -- I'm safe and comfortable at home with my family in North Carolina.

Although living socially distanced and not knowing when life will return to normal is a struggle, I am comforted by the knowledge of the frontline workers I work with around the world working to alleviate some of the harm being inflicted on those living in dense and underserved communities.


How Bangladesh Made Abortion Safer

How Bangladesh Made Abortion Safer
The government’s effort to help Rohingya victims of wartime rape has lessons for the world.

By Patrick Adams
Dec. 28, 2018

No one knows how many Rohingya became pregnant as a result of rape by the Myanmar military. No one knows how many babies were born to survivors of sexual violence living among the 750,000 Rohingya in camps in Bangladesh.

The systematic sexual violence against the Rohingya reminded many in Bangladesh of their own painful history: During Bangladesh’s war of independence in 1971, the Pakistani military and local collaborators killed about 300,000 civilians and raped and tortured as many as 400,000 women and girls.


South Asia: Prevalence of Unsafe Abortion

Prevalence of Unsafe Abortion

Aditi Aryal
Published July 30, 2018

Every day in India, 13 women die of unsafe abortions. It accounts for 10 to 12 per cent of total maternal deaths in Pakistan, and 7 per cent in Nepal. Unsafe abortions have increased three folds in the last decade in South Asia and this has become a pressing problem. These abortions are done without medical supervision, and include activities like inserting surgical devices or inapt herbs and spices or poison through the vaginal canal, consumption of non-OTC abortion pills without medical consultation, and perforation of the uterus. These methods are hazardous to the health of women as such abortions are performed by medically unqualified personnel and sometimes induced by the pregnant women on themselves and more often than not causes disability or worse, death.


USA – With Reproductive Rights in Great Jeopardy, ‘Plan C’ Is More Important Than Ever

With Reproductive Rights in Great Jeopardy, ‘Plan C’ Is More Important Than Ever
Plan C—making "missed period pills" widely available—would give users the power to decide whether or not they wished to test for or confirm pregnancy before taking pills to bring on their period.

Jul 6, 2018
Francine Coeytaux, Victoria Nichols & Elisa Wells

Four years ago, we argued for an important new family planning option. We envisioned a method that could be used at home when a period was late to induce menstruation and thus reassure individuals that they were not pregnant. Plan C, we posited, was not only possible—the technology already existed in the form of mifepristone and misoprostol—but could be the answer to the age-old question asked by women around the world, “What do I do if my period is late and I don’t want to be pregnant?” With the recent news of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s resignation and the rising concern about a likely shift in the balance of the U.S. Supreme Court, the need to ensure timely and affordable access to innovative reproductive health options like Plan C is even more urgent.


Opinion: Rohingya women have suffered enough. They don’t deserve discriminatory health care.

Opinion: Rohingya women have suffered enough. They don't deserve discriminatory health care.
By Anu Kumar, Sayed Rubayet
14 December 2017

Rape has been used as a weapon of war in conflicts all over the world. And has been used against women and girls caught up in the massive humanitarian crisis involving Rohingya refugees.

In the past few months, nearly 600,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar for Bangladesh, and more continue to seek refuge every day. The camps are overcrowded. The smell of waste and small fires for cooking and sweat hangs in the humid, thick air. Tents fashioned out of reeds and tarps perch precariously in the mud. Throngs of people crowd the latrines and newly dug wells. And these conditions are better than those in the makeshift camps, where thousands of unregistered refugees are living.

Continued at source:

Bangladesh: The Incidence of Menstrual Regulation in Bangladesh Declined Substantially Between 2010 and 2014

The Incidence of Menstrual Regulation in Bangladesh Declined Substantially Between 2010 and 2014
Improving Access to High-Quality Services Is Important for Women’s Health
March 22, 2017
News Release

Menstrual regulation (MR), a process to regulate or reestablish the menstrual cycle when menstruation is absent for a short duration, has been part of the national family planning program in Bangladesh since 1979. According to two new studies by researchers from the Guttmacher Institute and the Association for Prevention of Septic Abortion, Bangladesh (BAPSA), 430,000 MRs were performed in Bangladesh in 2014 and the rate of MR procedures was 10 per 1,000 women aged 15–49. These figures represent a 34% decline in the number of MRs and a 40% decline in the MR rate since data were last collected, in 2010. Inadequate access to needed MR services may help to explain the declines: The studies show that the proportion of both public and private facilities providing MR services dropped between 2010 and 2014. Among types of facilities that could potentially provide MR, 47% of public and 80% of private facilities in 2014 did not offer that service.

Continued at source: Guttmacher Institute:

Menstrual Regulation in Bangladesh: is the law effective enough?

Meena, a 17-year-old girl went to a traditional birth attendant to terminate her unwanted pregnancy. The attendant inserted a tree branch into her uterus. This caused severe pain and heavy bleeding. Although the pregnancy was terminated, when in later years she tried to get pregnant, she was told that the unsafe abortion method had damaged her uterus.

Like her, every year, around 572,000 women suffer from unsafe abortion in Bangladesh (research data from the Guttmacher Institute).

Bangladesh is dealing with the topic of abortion in different ways. In the history of Bangladesh, abortion was legalized after the liberation war for those women who had been raped during the war. Later in 1976, Bangladesh National Population Policy tried to legalize abortion for the first trimester but was able to expand it only to allow when a woman’s life was in danger. Menstrual Regulation (MR) was introduced to the people of the Bangladesh in 1979. It has been practiced since then effectively as an alternative to abortion. However the penal code from 1860 is still in place, which means that an induced abortion is illegal unless the woman’s life is at risk.

Now the question arises, what is Menstrual Regulation? It is a procedure that uses manual vacuum aspiration to control fertility so it is not possible to be pregnant after missing period. In Bangladesh, it can only be performed with a maximum limit of 10 – 12 weeks after a woman’s last period and without a test to confirm pregnancy.

MR services have been decentralized and are officially available free of cost in the public sector. Despite this, according to the research, many women still end up with unsafe abortions. Although MR is free in the country, there would be additional charges if the pregnancy is beyond 10 weeks. In addition to that, low level of education and lack of awareness is also a barrier. Only 9% MR users reported getting the information from trained family planning workers. One third of the facilities that could provide MR services either lack trained staff or equipment or both. In some cases service providers turn women seeking MR services away.

Giving training to service providers on MR is not enough. They need adequate knowledge on reproductive rights and MR laws in Bangladesh. Furthermore, proper facilities and equipments are the matter of subject to provide safe MR services. Educating women on the availability of MR services and danger of unsafe abortion is required to make the MR Law more effective.



Bangladesh: The Drop – Documentary Film

April 9, 2016

Shathi, from Dhaka is suffering complications from unsafe abortion. Like her, each year, an estimated 572,000 women suffer complications from unsafe abortion, but only 40% of those who need treatment actually receive care from a facility.

Watch this powerful documentary (8:47) made by ASAP Youth Champion Anika Binte Habib from Bangladesh, highlighting the complications women face in accessing safe abortion services.

Source: The Drop, Youtube