Shortage of contraceptives worries Dhaka

September 24th, 2009 - 1:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, Sep 24 (IANS) The shortage of contraceptives is worrying health planners and international agencies engaged in curbing population in Bangladesh, one of the world’s most densely populated nations.
The current stock of contraceptives and major drugs and devices to prevent pregnancy could last three to four months, while a 12 month-buffer is considered ’safe’, New Age newspaper said Thursday.

Health ministry officials, however, sought to allay fears of short supplies saying that documentation work for procuring stocks that would last till 2012 had been completed.

Bangladesh’s population rose 1.7 percent in 2007 to reach 161.3 million, while the per capita gross national income dropped to $1,230 from $2,090 last year, a UN report said. At the present growth rate, Bangladesh will be home to 254.1 million people by 2050, said the latest global population report by the UN Population Fund (UNPF).

Demographers, reproductive health workers and economists the newspaper spoke to observed that short or erratic supplies of contraceptives would lead to a surge in unintended pregnancies, preventable illnesses and unnecessary sufferings.

According to the Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey 2007, contraceptive prevalence rate has reached 55.8 percent.

The latest data of the family planning department showed average monthly consumption included 7.6 million condoms, 8.6 million pills, 1.2 million vials of injectables, 25,000 sets of IUDs and 20,000 sets of implants.

According to a study ‘Human and economic impact of shortage/stock-out of reproductive health supplies in Bangladesh’ conducted by the Human Development Research Centre, 159,800 unexpected pregnancies were caused due to the shortage or irregular supply of three most-used methods of contraception.

Of them, 90,240 pregnancies were lost through menstrual regulations and 22,560 by abortion, while 47,000 children were born.

M.M. Kaiser Rashid, acting country director of Deliver Project of USAID in Bangladesh which monitors the procurement and official stocks of contraceptives, said there might be sporadic stock-out in case of any disruption in the delivery of the materials.

“At the end of June, procurement procedures of some contraceptive materials were completed and these are expected to arrive in the country by the end of September. If there is any disruption in supply line, the country might see sporadic stock-out of some contraceptives,” Rashid told the New Age newspaper.

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