Family planning facilities still elusive for thousands
About 20 lakh people live in Moulvibazar. But a large part of the population is outside the coverage of family planning as the district family planning office and union health and family welfare centres have been running with shortage of manpower, serious medicine crisis and inadequate infrastructure.
According to the district family planning department, there are total 67 unions in the district and there should be one health and family welfare centre in each union, but there are 43 centres. Of those, 30 have been running with shortage of manpower and serious crisis of medicine.
Abdur Razzak, deputy director (DD) of the department, said 35 percent of the posts in the office and the centres are vacant, hampering services.
According to rules, a field worker should work for 6,000 service seekers, where only one field worker is serving around 25,000 people in each union.
For example, Islampur is densely populated union in Kamalganj upazila. It needs five field workers, but there is only one. And six field workers are needed in Ashidhrun union of Sreemangal upazila but only two are there. Three field workers are needed in Boromchal union of Kulaura upazila but it has only one.
Wising anonymity, a field worker in Kamalganj upazila said the authorities concerned asked them to run a centre for a month by giving medicine for 10 days.
Altafur Rahman, district coordinator of Centre for Injury Prevention and Research in Bangladesh, said 71 cases of maternal mortality were reported in Moulvibazar last year.
Agormoni Kharia, 20, of Krisnachara village in Sreemangal, said she did not get any vaccination while she was pregnant and never see any family planning officer visiting their area.
Her neighbours Manik Kharia and Bishol Kharia narrated the same experience.
Shapla Begum, 24, and her neighbor Rima Begum , 28, of Chadnighat union in Moulvibazar Sadar upazila, said they never see any field workers of family planning office visiting their area.
Mahmud Ali, a member of Chadnighat union parishad, said the family planning office has been facing acute shortage of manpower and serious medicine crisis for long.
DD Razzak said due to shortage of manpower and serious medicine crisis in the centres, services are being badly hampered.
He hopes the problem will be resolved if the vacant posts are filled up.