Bangladesh needs ‘smart investment’ to achieve FP2020 goals: Expert

June 7, 2019

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Director of the Institute of Health Economics of Dhaka University Syed Abdul Hamid said, Bangladesh is still far behind achieving the indicators of the Family Planning 2020, popularly known as FP2020.

“And that is why smart investment is needed,” he said, speaking at a session on the sidelines of the Women Deliver Conference 2019 in Vancouver.

The largest conference on gender equality discusses almost all issues that impact the well-being of women and girls. Family planning is one of them.

World leaders in 2012 London Summit on family planning set a goal to empower 120 million additional women and girls in the 69 lower income countries to use modern contraception by 2020.

A new partnership -- FP2020 -- was also launched where Bangladesh made several commitments.

Those include formulating strategies to reduce the total fertility rate to 2 from 2.3, increasing contraceptive prevalence rate to 75 percent from 62 percent and raising the share of long-acting and permanent methods to 20 percent from 8.1 percent.

Reductions of unmet need from 12 percent to 10 percent and discontinuation rate of family planning method to 20 percent from 30 percent were also parts of the commitments.

Local analysts, however, said the government did not take any additional steps to implement those commitments.

The director, Hamid, said the government is spending in the family planning sector, “but we need to know how much we are spending in which component and what is the target. We also need to know how much is needed to achieve the target and where should we give emphasis.”

“For smart investment, you need these information before making a decision. And then you get the maximum impact,” he said.

In the discussion, the experts presented examples of how data is used to build a case for investment, to prioritise scarce resources and to monitor investments.

Data and evidence have the power to highlight necessary investments, set priorities for limited resources, and hold decision-makers accountable on their commitments.

They also highlighted how data was used to make a cost-savings case for adolescent sexual and reproductive health, and to track family planning investments and impact.

The Bangladesh government spends $224.6 million in family planning services, which is 66 percent of the total need, Hamid said.

People spend over $41 million out-of-pocket, which is 12 percent, while donors contribute 15 percent and NGOs 6.5 percent.

He said the good news is that the government showed an interest to review the operation plan and the increase budget for enabling environment, especially monitoring and evaluation, training and capacity building and family planning-related research.

But the missing link is there is no fund for policy advocacy which is important for family planning services, he said.

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