Driving SRHR Progress for Marginalised Communities in Bangladesh: PSTC & IPPF Jointly Launched ‘FOCUS’

The Population Services and Training Center (PSTC) unveiled its FOCUS program today at Lakeshore Hotel, Gulshan, in collaboration with the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF). The initiative aims to advance sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in Bangladesh by expanding family planning services, increasing youth participation, and providing quality SRHR services to marginalised groups.

The event was inaugurated virtually by the Chief Guest, Honorable State Minister, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Dr. Rokeya Sultana. Special Guests included Mr. Ashish Damle, Country Director of Oxfam International Bangladesh; Ms. Kabita Bose, Country Director of Plan International Bangladesh; and Ms. Tomoko Fukuda, IPPF Regional Director for South Asia. The inaugural session was chaired by Ms. Sanjeeda Islam, Chairperson of PSTC.

FOCUS, short for Fortifying Organizational Capacity to Uphold the SRHR Movement, seeks to propel the SRHR agenda forward by widening access, promoting digital and self-care solutions, and ensuring the delivery of high-quality SRHR services.

“Our objective is to provide comprehensive SRHR services and ensure meaningful youth participation while advocating against sexual and gender-based violence,” said Dr. Noor Mohammad, Executive Director of PSTC at the launch. 

Dr. Noor Mohammad also emphasised the importance of holistic approaches to achieving an equitable SRHR society, stating, “There is no alternative to economic empowerment, comprehensive sexuality education, and parental awareness to build an SRHR equitable society. I am hopeful that FOCUS will be able to ensure it.”

Ms. Tomoko Fukuda highlighted the pivotal role of youth, saying, “At IPPF, we believe young people should be at the center of positive changes. That’s why we are partnering with PSTC to empower youth to localise SRHR awareness.”  

Ms. Sanjeeda Islam underscored the program’s core mission: “The core intention of the FOCUS program is to ensure inclusivity in SRHR. I believe if we all work together, it’s achievable.”  

The inaugural session included speeches from Mr. Ashish Damle, Ms. Kabita Bose, and Ms. Tomoko Fukuda, as well as closing remarks by Ms. Sanjeeda Islam. 

Then the working session featured a discussion on “How to Ensure Inclusiveness while Moving Forward the SRHR Agenda.” The session was facilitated by Dr. Noor Mohammad. Invited speakers included Mr. A.F.M Alauddin Khan, (Additional Secretary), Project Director, Urban Primary Health Care Services Delivery Project-2nd Phase (UPHCSDP-II); Mr. Tony Michael Gomes, Director of Strategic Partnerships, Advocacy, and Communications at CARE Bangladesh; Ms. Tropa Majumdar, Media Personality and Director at Expressions Ltd.; Ms. Mushfiqua Zaman Satiar, Senior Policy Advisor for Gender and Civil Society at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Dhaka; and Ms. Tomoko Fukuda.

The discussion emphasised strategies for inclusiveness, with Mr. Tony Michael Gomes stating, “Inclusiveness is crucial for sustainable SRHR progress. Collaborative efforts can address diverse needs effectively.” Ms. Tropa Majumdar added, “Collaboration among all stakeholders is much needed to develop a common narrative on SRHR awareness and advocacy.”  

The launch of FOCUS represents a significant step in advancing SRHR in Bangladesh, promising a lasting impact on the lives of many across the country. 


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