Adolescence is the transitional stage for changing behavior, values, beliefs and attitudes. It is also the prime period of sexuality development, from ages 10 to19. About 23% of the total population of Bangladesh is adolescents. Adolescents in Bangladesh do not have access to adequate information about their own sexual and reproductive health and rights. The predominant restrictive norms and beliefs on women’s roles and position and the voiceless status of unmarried boys and girls reflect a deeply rooted gender and age discrimination.
In fact, most parents actively push their daughters into early marriages. Early marriage and sexual harassment cause girls to drop out of education and limits their opportunities for social interaction. Only 45% per cent of adolescent girls are enrolled in secondary school and even fewer attend regularly. Bangladesh’s girls and boys are not in a position to exercise their sexual and reproductive health rights. They lack reliable and timely information and life skills.
Positive attitude of parents toward adolescent reproductive health education, including a positive environment for introducing reproductive and sexual health education in schools is necessary.
Making parents more aware of reproductive and sexual health matters and developing their communication skill to talk to their children along with in-school education for adolescents should be given high priority in Bangladesh.
Speakers said at a view exchanging meeting titled “Adolescent reproductive health rights and challenges: Role of local leaders and media” held at Hotel Saint Martin, Chittagong on 28 April 2014 organized by YPSA and Campaign for Popular Education.
Ms. Sabiha Musa, Member of Parliament was present as chief guest while Ms. Khaleda Begum, Team leader of YPSA presided the meeting. The keynote paper was presented by Dr. AKM Sirajul Islam, President of Chittagong Peshajibi Shamannoy Parishad. Mr. Delowar Mazumdar, President of SHONAK Chittagong, Mr. Shahab Uddin, Associate Professor, Department of Communication and Journalism, University of Chittagong, Mr. M Nasirul Hoq, City editor of daily Suprobhat Bangladesh deliver their speech in the meeting.
Mr. Shahidul Islam, program manager of YPSA gave opening speech while Dr. Muhammad Mostafizur Rahman, Program manager and Ms. Khaleda Habib, Co-program manager of Campaign for Popular Education discussed about the activities in the field of adolescent reproductive health rights. Mr. Mostafa Al Mamun from HASAB also discussed about Chittagong based activities.
The meeting was divided into two sessions in which representatives from civil society, NGO, teachers, parents and religious leaders attended the first session and media personals of different print and electronic media working in Chittagong attended the next session.