Action Research on Covid-19 Threatening to Existing SRH Services for Young People

COVID19 global pandemic has created extra challenges for both service providers and recipients. Young people faced significant barriers in accessing essential sexual and reproductive health information and services before the crisis. Now, amid a pandemic that is straining even the most robust of healthcare systems, there is a real risk that these rights will move even further from reach. With lockdown leading to a shadow pandemic of gender-based violence – and rates of child marriage and teenage pregnancy predicted to increase exponentially – information and services that protect and promote girls’ and young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) are more vital than ever. It is because, sexual and reproductive health and rights are human rights, and SRHR services are lifesaving.

There are 29.5 million adolescents in Bangladesh, including 14.4 million girls and 15.1 million boys, together representing nearly one-fifth of the country’s total population of 144 million. Although the health and well-being of this group is critical to the country’s future, issues surrounding sexual and reproductive health (SRH) remain a cultural taboo, especially for adolescents and young unmarried people.

Adolescents in Bangladesh too often enter their reproductive years poorly informed about SRH issues, without adequate access to SRH-related information or services. Source: (Adolescents in Bangladesh: A Situation Analysis of Programmatic Approaches to Sexual and Reproductive Health Education and Services by USAID in 2017.) Adolescents should be a prime issue of health sector development. If the adolescents of today get orientation on the health issues, they will be aware about themselves and future generations.

Protiki Jubo Sangsad (Bangladesh Model Youth Parliament), a youth organisation is working on SRHR issue since 2015 as well as closely working with sexual and repruductive health service providing centers like Family welfare Centre (FWC) at the Union level). This organisation conducted a youth-led action research to find out the challenges on providing SRH services for young people and adolescents, how to accountable family planning higher authorities to ensure more quality services for youth and adolescents and what kind of extra challenges the COVID 19 has created to provide services for service providers and service recipients (Youth and adolescents). This action research was conducted in 4 Union Health and Family Welfare Centre (FWC) with service providers (SACMO and FWV) and youth and adolescents’ group in 2 Union (Syestabad and Charbariya) supported by ActionAid Bangladesh.

The research findings says, from January 2020 to October 2020 the service recipients of adolescents have decreased due to the COVID 19 pandemic. Due to the lockdown the educational institutions are closed and students are not coming to take services. It is high time for to Governments must ensure continued access to SRH services and using tele-health as an alternative to face-to-face appointments.

Check the full report here: Covid-19 Threatening to Existing SRH Services for Young People

Get in touch with Sohanur Rahman, Country Change Maker, SRHR for All via kishanibd@gmail.com

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