Reproductive Health Needs of Adolescents in Bangladesh

Adolescents have been identified as an under-served priority target group. Very little is known about the health needs of adolescents in Bangladesh in general. In order to assess the reproductive health needs of adolescents, this review was done. The findings of the study showed that a large number of adolescents did not have any formal education. Also school drop-out rate was high in both urban and rural areas and for both boys and girls, and it is highest in the case of urban slum adolescents. A huge portion of adolescents of the rural and urban slum were married. These girls were not only married but soon after marriage they became pregnant; more than half of them reported having had one or more children. There was also a clear community expectation that, once married, girls should prove their fertility by becoming pregnant. They mostly worked as either housemaids or garment workers. Most girls in the study reported that they did not have any knowledge about menstruation before they experienced it and most boys reported that they did not have any idea about wet dreams before they experienced them. Most adolescents do not have a clear idea about the process of reproduction. Knowledge about diseases of the reproductive organs was low among the rural adolescents. Regarding health-seeking behavior, in general, the adolescents did not feel comfortable seeking treatments for RH illnesses. More behavior change communication (BCC) is needed to create a supportive environment for adolescents which would necessitate a more comprehensive approach that goes beyond the production of BCC materials to increase community awareness. Finally, adolescent friendly health services should be ensured by arranging special hours or special days for them, orienting and providing training to healthcare providers on how to counsel adolescents.


Nahar, Q., Tuñón, C., Houvras, I., Gazi, R., Reza, M., Huq, N. L., & Khudal, B. (1999). Reproductive health needs of adolescents in Bangladesh: A study report. Dhaka: ICDDR, B, Centre for Health and Population Research.

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