Educating female garment workers on sexual and reproductive health and providing them with health-related support can help reduce their workplace absence and boost their productivity, according to a recent study.
Garment factory officials who were interviewed as part of the research said the absence of female workers was reduced to 5 percent from 12 percent after they were provided with such knowledge and support like distribution of sanitary napkins.
Population Council, a non-government research organisation, surveyed 2,165 female garment workers, aged between 18 and 49, in 10 factories of Dhaka, Gazipur and Narayanganj early this year.
The study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of HERhealth model, a USAID-funded project of non-profit organisation BSR. The model was developed to improve sexual and reproductive health condition of garment workers.
BSR's Dhaka office yesterday revealed the findings during a seminar at a hotel in the capital.
Referring to the garment workers, Kazi Mustafa Sarwar, director general of Directorate General of Family Planning (DGFP), said, “Without ensuring their good health, you will not get a skilled and productive workforce.”
“If sexual and reproductive health services are increased, both workers and factory owners will be benefited,” he said.
Findings show almost 23 percent of the female garment workers would use sanitary napkins, but the percentage rose to 72 after implementing HERhealth model.
The percentage of workers adopting family planning methods also increased from 65 to 72, said Irfan Hossain, one of the researchers.