Birth control down in country, Birth rate up: Want new tide of campaign

Zahid Rakib, Staff Correspondent,
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The use of birth control methods in the country is decreasing. As a result, the birth rate has increased. Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) analysis of the latest published data shows that the use of birth control methods in the country decreased by 2.3 percent in 2022 compared to 2021. This year, 63.3 percent of the country's 15 to 49-year-old women and men used birth control. But in 2021 it is 65.6 percent. And in 2020, the country's birth rate was 18.1 percent, which increased by 1.7 percent to 19.8 percent in 2022. This rise in birth rates and the decline in birth control use are of concern to public health experts. Many see the increase in sex and staying at home due to the lockdown during the corona pandemic. Some believe that the rising cost of birth control is also a factor in its declining use which increased the birth rate.

The statistical analysis also showed that reluctance to use birth control in the country is decreasing at a higher rate in rural than in urban areas. Among the 10 divisional districts, Rangpur has the most decrease. In 2018, the use of birth control method among men and women aged 15 to 49 years of the country was 63.1 percent. As a result, the use of birth control increased in the first three years of the last five years, but decreased in the next two years. This rate has decreased by 2.3 percent in the rural areas of the country in the last one year.

In 2018, the use of birth control in rural areas of the country was 62.4 percent. At the same time, its use in the city was 62.4 percent. The countrywide average was 63.1 percent. Over the next three years, the use of this method increased by an average of 2.5 percent in 2021. And the rural areas of the country are ahead of the cities which was hopeful. At that time, the use of birth control in the village was 65.7 percent. And the city had 65 percent. But within a year, in 2022, the use of birth control decreased by 2.3 percent. Its use in villages comes down to 62.9 percent. And in the city it is reduced to 64.3 percent. In just one year, it decreased by 0.7 percent in the city, but it became 2.8 percent in the village.

Division wise statistics show that Rangpur has the highest use of birth control. The rate is 69.2 percent. And the lowest in Khulna is 59.3 percent. Besides, 61.3 percent of men and women use birth control in Dhaka division.

As an inevitable consequence of the decline in the use of birth control, the birth rate in the country has also increased. The BBS survey shows that the country's birth rate is 18.1 percent in 2020, which has increased by 1.7 percent to 19.8 percent in 2022. In this case, it can be seen that the birth rate of the village has increased compared to the city. In 2022, the child birth rate in urban areas is 16.6 percent. And in rural areas this rate was 20.8 percent.

According to BBS statistics, 126 children were born in 2020 against every 1,000 fertile women aged 20 to 24 in the country. This number increased to 137 in 2022. For every thousand women aged 25 to 29, 109 children were born in 2020, which increased to 118 in 2022. On the other hand, 100,000 fertile women aged 30 to 34 gave birth to 63 children in 2020 which increased to 75 people in 2022.

In its latest publication, BBS says that people are moving away from traditional methods of birth control and adopting more modern methods. But even there, the usage rate has decreased by 2.3 percent in 2022 compared to 2021.

Birth control services include: oral contraceptives, condoms, long-acting injectables, intra-uterine devices (IUD) or copper T, implants, permanent methods, and emergency pills. According to experts, the rate of taking emergency pills has increased significantly in recent times. Moreover, with the increase in commodity prices, the price of important items of birth control system has increased several times. That may lead to decreased use of birth control.

The period when the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) conducted its census was also the global Corona period. Due to the lockdown, the family planning program came to a standstill. According to experts, due to the lockdown at the time of Corona, the uptake of birth control services further decreased. That is what caused this extra pregnancy. They fear the increase in population due to disruption of birth control programs. This situation has arisen due to the inability to collect birth control products during the general holidays to prevent the corona virus. As a result, it is understood that the increase in the birth rate in the country was also worrying due to the decrease in the use of birth control methods at the time of Corona.

However, the Assistant Director of the Department of Family Planning's Clinical Contraception Services Delivery Program regarding the decrease in the use of birth control. Md. Rafiqul Islam Talukder told Barta24 that the use of birth control has not actually decreased in that way. Family planning is now Bangladesh's role model. We have also received several awards at different times.

This Assistant Director of the family planning department also said, family planning is everyone's own choice, nothing is imposed on anyone here. He will take what he likes. Some are happy with condoms and some are with pills. One may be satisfied with the injection given to the person of choice. There is publicity that people get services from community clinics, NGOs, our various organizations in the village. He is getting service as he wants.

Public health expert Dr. Lelin Chowdhury told Barta24 that the use of spontaneous birth control methods among educated and conscious groups has increased somewhat. But the main target of the marginal population is a very high birth rate. It is important to expand their birth control program and provide low-cost or free birth control. Birth control usage is decreasing as the country's population increases. The population of our country of 54 to 55 thousand square miles is one of the most populous countries in the world. If more population increases then this pressure is not possible for the country. In order to save the country and the people of the country, at least the birth control system should be implemented strongly, people should be motivated to apply it.

About the increase in the cost of birth control, this public health expert said, people who will try to prevent hunger first will want to spend less money. Our proposal would be to withdraw the government's many unnecessary sector allocations and subsidies, and to rapidly distribute low-cost or free birth control to the marginalized population.

Asked if there is any deficiency behind the decrease in the use of this method, he said, we have noticed for several years, the activities of promoting birth control methods and motivating people are gradually decreasing which stops completely during corona. This initiative needs to be promoted with renewed vigor. Although there is no need for this campaign among the educated and conscious people, it is the marginalized people who are out of education and below the poverty line that needs to be enhanced. There is a need to start a new tide on this issue.


What is the truth behind the Saudi plane's Mumbai 'landing' controversy?

Ashraful Islam, Planning Editor,
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Last Tuesday (February 20, 2024), a Saudi Airliner was not allowed to make an emergency landing at Mumbai airport, the world's one of the busiest airports. With these published news, the social media of Bangladesh was very active and extremely 'attempted to incite hatred towards India' made me interested to know more about the news. Especially when a class of so-called activists in Bangladesh (who are seen at various times trying to create confusion in the public mind by spreading misinformation) participate in this debate and become active in trying to portray Pakistan as 'superhuman' for 'allowing' the landing.

Pakistan-based newspapers including 'The News' have claimed that the pilot of the Saudia plane first sought permission from the air traffic controller to make an emergency landing at the airport in Mumbai, India. But the plane was not immediately allowed to land in Mumbai after the passenger's nationality and other details were ascertained.

The news further mentioned that the 44-year-old Bangladeshi passenger, Abu Tahir, sought permission from the Air Traffic Controller in Karachi, Pakistan, without getting permission to land in Mumbai due to the deterioration of his physical condition. A Riyadh-bound Saudi Airliner flight from Dhaka was given an emergency landing in Karachi. After receiving the permission, the plane made an emergency landing at Karachi's Jinnah International Airport at 7:28 am on Wednesday and the passenger was treated by the medical team of the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority and later the plane took off again from Karachi to Riyadh.

No source of information or statement of concerned persons was taken in the news which was spread by the mass media of Pakistan. A number of aspects have become clear in the way some Bangladeshi media and social media desperately propagated an unsourced news item with great importance. Firstly: Inciting anti-India feeling among the people of Bangladesh. On the other hand, promoting Pakistan as a 'humanitarian' country and trying to create a rift in the existing cordial relations between Bangladesh and India.

Contacting the Indian diplomatic sources to find out the truth of the matter, it is known that the Saudi Airliner flight was allowed to land by the Mumbai Civil Aviation Authority. The plane also started dumping fuel to reduce weight. But later it turned around and announced that the flight would not land in Mumbai due to the company's own policy. Diplomatic sources also said that Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport Authority was ready to provide all possible necessary assistance, including a medical team, to Abu Tahir, a Bangladeshi ailing passenger on board the flight.

Let's look back at some recent events. We noticed what a terrible frenzy took the game of cricket a few months ago! The 'madness of Bangladeshi youth over India's defeat' has been widely publicized using social media. And it has been done in what some have tried to call a 'religious and sacred civic duty'. Due to this, a class became involved in anti-Bangladesh propaganda in India as well. And understandably, the hate mongers have succeeded! However, after a few days of frenzy, they calmed down at some point. But do they really stop? They don't stop. They wait for the creation of opposition issues. And in a very coordinated manner, they spread all this misinformation at lightning speed.

It goes without saying that there is a history of India's total cooperation in the development of independent Bangladesh and the sacrifice of countless soldiers and the endless suffering of its people. We have problems with the country on some issues including common rivers, border killings. Although not desirable, it is present throughout the world with neighboring countries and has many specific perspectives involved. But the way in which both Bangladesh and India have benefited and are benefiting in many ways due to being friendly neighbors, is rarely seen in the world. The example of countries like Myanmar, Pakistan and Afghanistan can be drawn to see how hostile relations with neighbors can bring bad results in the long term.

Our diplomatic relations with Pakistan are also based on this motto of our foreign policy formulated by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman: 'Friendship with all - enmity with none'. We also have an embassy there. But the values that Pakistan holds as a state are vastly different from those of Bangladesh. It goes without saying how desperate it is to expect any sign of Pakistan emerging with a 'humane' character in relation to Bangladesh in the near past or even in the future. The campaign to return any airport in India to the identity of Bangladeshi passengers landing there did not survive in the end. Because the number of citizens of Bangladesh goes to India every day, in many countries for a whole month; even throughout the year that number of citizens does not go. In these two countries, which are friendly in civil communication, we are also seeing talks of lifting the 'visa' in respect of the people's expectations in the future at various government and private levels. What else could be the ridiculous claim of not allowing a flight carrying a passenger after knowing his nationality to be 'Bangladeshi'?

However, if there is any specific incident or scene, surely the Indian authorities will investigate it. And if there is a logical reason, the air traffic authorities of Bangladesh may also not allow a flight to land. But without knowing the full extent of the specific events, it is quite conceivable that this kind of inciting controversy is an attempt to create a rift in friendly diplomatic relations.



'Sugar is no more sugar, it has become poison'

Rakib Hassan, Staff Correspondent,


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A few days later, the Muslim’s self-restraint month of Ramadan. At the end of the whole day of fasting, a glass of sherbet is supposed to refresh the spirit of the fasting people, but the price of sugar, the main ingredient for making sherbet, is now beyond the reach of consumers. In this, common people coming to the market to buy sugar saying "sugar is no longer sugar, it has become poison".

Yesterday, on the news of sudden increase in the price of sugar by Tk. 20 per kg, unscrupulous traders immediately tried to create an artificial crisis of sugar, and the Ministry of Commerce withdrew the decision at night.

A part of the wholesale traders said that they have to count the loss as the decision to raise the price of sugar suddenly and withdraw the price at night. Basically, on the news of price increase, the traders have ordered (DO) sugar at a higher price. Now that it has been decided to reduce the price again, the ordered sugar will have to be sold at a lower price.

At present, open sugar is sold at Tk. 140-142 per kg in the market, which was Tk. 125 last Ramadan and packaged sugar at Tk. 150-155.

On Friday (February 23), some retail markets in Mirpur saw white sugar being sold at Tk. 136-142 depending on the type.

Owner of Sultan Traders Abdur Rahman said that he is selling white sugar at Tk. 136-138 per kg. But it is losing him. As the reason, he said that he had bought a bag of sugar for Tk. 6,600 earlier, but suddenly yesterday afternoon, he had to buy it at a price of Tk. 80 to Tk. 150 more per bag. Then the price of that sugar fell again at night. He also complains about the labor cost per bag and sometimes less sugar in the bag.

Salim, the owner of Salim General Store, said that he bought sugar a few days ago for Tk. 6,600. In this his per kg sugar has fallen to Tk. 132. However, he bought two sacks of sugar for Tk. 6,850 without getting sugar due to the price increase; in this, sugar has fallen to Tk. 137 per kg. Shop rent, electricity bill, salary of employees etc will be added to this, making his expenses above Tk. 140 rupees. Now if you can't sell at a higher price then there is no way but to pay a loss. He complained that the prices of all kinds of products during Ramadan have already increased. Chickpeas were sold at Tk. 100 earlier but now they are being sold at Tk.104. But this gram was Tk. 80 last year, and sugar was Tk. 120.

A visit to the wholesale sugar markets in Mirpur revealed that there was some control over the supply of sugar from the mills due to the sudden increase in the price of sugar. But the mills are taking orders again at night. Businessmen are in a panic. So many traders are waiting and releasing sugar little by little.

Tajul Islam, manager of Momin Banizya Bitan, said that sugar was sold at a high price until 6 pm yesterday. On the news of price hike, sugar started selling at higher prices. But today I am selling for Tk. 6800 to Tk. 6850.

Also, Tanmoy Traders, Farooq Traders, Momin Traders did not order today at an additional rate of Tk. 6780.

Meanwhile, the price of sugar in Moulvibazar increased by at least Tk. 50-100 per bag yesterday. Besides, many traders are not getting sugar even after ordering. They said that when a vehicle is sent to bring sugar, the transport sits at the mill gate for two or three days. Tk. 2000 per day as demurrage has to be paid. This then feeds into the price of sugar. If the goods were available immediately then the sugar would have been available even less.

Hasibur Rahman, an official of a private organization, has come to the market to prepare for the upcoming Shabe -barat and Ramadan market. He said that a kind of game has already started with the price of sugar before Ramadan. In our country, if there is any problem, a part of the businessmen suddenly increase the price without thinking about the people, just for the sake of extra profit. Sugar which was Tk. 115-120 last year is now Tk. 140-155 . Sugar no longer feels like sugar, it feels like poison. The rise in commodity prices has now become a thorn in the neck. So the government should pay close attention to the market so that common people don't suffer during Ramadan.


There will be no chaos on the Myanmar border: Foreign Minister

Staff Correspondent,
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Foreign Minister Dr. Hasan Mahmud expressed hope that the kind of situation that was created in the past on the Myanmar border will not arise again.

At the same time, he said, it is not possible for us to accept or shelter any Rohingya. We have sheltered more than 12 lakh Rohingyas in our country. 35 thousand new Rohingya children are born every year, that is, this number is increasing every year.

On Friday (February 23), Chattogram city's CRB headquarter, Chattogram City Corporation organized the Amar Ekushe book fair at the end of the chief guest's speech at the 'Mahan Ekushe Smark Sammanna Padak'.

The foreign minister said that we are working on how to send back the Rohingyas who have been given shelter for humanitarian reasons. He requested the assistance of all countries including the United States, to apply international pressure on the Myanmar government to send back the Rohingyas. That is why we have discussed it with various countries including India, USA and China.

Myanmar's junta government has recently announced that they will launch an operation again, many Rohingyas are staying at the border, how will the government handle this situation? Dr. Hasan Mahmud said, you know that a few days ago our Prime Minister went to the Security Conference in Munich, there we also discussed the issue of Rohingya repatriation with various heads of state and government. The arrival of the high-level delegation from the United States is instrumental in deepening the relationship between our two countries. We will definitely discuss the issue of Rohingya repatriation there.

He said conducting operations in Rakhine is their internal matter, but because of that, we already have tensions here and mortar shells from there have landed in our country, killing two people. As many as 330 members of their army and security forces came to our country, they took them back again. We protested by calling the Myanmar ambassador to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. So we hope that the kind of situation that has arisen in the past will not arise again.

Pointing to BNP leader Nazrul Islam Khan’s view that there must be a change in the government in the movement to restore democracy - In this regard, the foreign minister said that if the government is to be changed, the BNP will have to wait until the 29th election, then the people will form the government. They have failed in all the tests that BNP has conducted for so long. Now let them experiment again, study more and then we'll see what they do. Of course, the government will not stop anyone from carrying out a systematic movement. But the violence that BNP has done in the name of anarchy in the past will not be allowed to continue.

In the speech as the chief guest at the Ekushey award ceremony of the book fair, Dr. Hasan Mahmud said, after the founding of the Chhatra League by the Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, one of the 10 points given by the Chhatra League was that Bengali should be made the state language and based on those 10 points, the student leaders including the young leader Sheikh Mujib toured the districts. Did these histories remain undiscovered, today they are slowly unfolding. Ever since the creation of Pakistan, Bangabandhu had realized that the liberation of the Bengali nation was not inherent in the Pakistani state system.

Emphasizing the internationalization of the Chattogram Book Fair, the foreign minister said, Dhaka and West Bengal's Kolkata, Agartala, Assam and other publishers should be invited, then the fair will be internationalized. When a book is published in English in England, it is also published in New York, Australia and New Zealand. But that doesn't happen in our country. If a book is published in Kolkata, it is not simultaneously published in Dhaka or Chattogram.

Mayor of Chattogram City Corporation Bir Muktijoddha Rezaul Karim Chowdhury spoke at the event, Convener Councilor of Amar Ekushe Book Fair Celebration Parishad. Dr. Nisar Uddin Ahmed Manju. Sheikh Mohammad Touhidul Islam, Chief Executive Officer of City Corporation gave the welcome speech. Among the awardees, Shishir Dutta, who received an award in drama and Absar Habib, who received an award in poetry, spoke expressing their feelings.

This time, Chattogram City Corporation (CCC) Ekushey got a commemorative medal and literary award: Shaheed Saifuddin Khaled Chowdhury (posthumously) in the liberation war and freedom movement, Md. Nasiruddin for industrial development and social service(posthumous), Professor Dr. Md. Gofaranul Haque in Medical service, Shishir Dutta in drama, Shreyasi Roy in culture, Professor Pradeep Bhattacharya in education, Suprabhat Bangladesh editor Rusho Mahmud in development and promotion of newspaper industry, Jaseem Chowdhury Sabuj in journalism, Zakir Hossain Lulu in sports, Shaibal Chowdhury in short film production and research, in folklore and research Shamsul Arefin, in Essay Shamsuddin Shishir, in Poetry Absar Habib and Bhagyadhan Barua, in Children literature Arun Shil and Shibu Kanti Das.


India will export 50 thousand tons of onions to Bangladesh

Staff Correspondent,
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India has allowed the export of 50 thousand tons of onions to Bangladesh. Exporters can export this onion to Bangladesh till March 31. It is said that this activity will start very soon.

India's Directorate of Consumer Affairs Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh told reporters in New Delhi on Thursday (February 23).

He said, 'We have allowed immediate export of 50 thousand tons of onions to Bangladesh. Traders have been allowed to export this amount till March 31 and work is underway to this end.'

He said, based on the recommendation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a decision has been taken to allow exports to Bangladesh.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Hasan Mahmud, during his visit to India earlier this month, requested India to lift the ban on exports of some essential commodities, including onions, to Bangladesh to stabilize their prices in the local market ahead of the holy month of Ramadan.

Bangladesh foreign minister Dr. Hasan Mahmud during the meetings with his counterpart Dr. S. Jaishankar and Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal requested to export those products to Bangladesh.

Earlier in December last year, India imposed a ban on onion exports to boost domestic supply and control price hikes of the commodity.