Improve reproductive health service for RMG workers
Speakers at a seminar yesterday stressed the need for improving reproductive health services for garment workers.
Around 85 percent of total garment workers are women who are at the reproductive age of 18 to 35, they added.
The speakers said the women garment workers need education on reproductive health to protect their reproductive health rights.
It is also important to create women-friendly working environment in the factories so that women workers receive support from their fellow colleagues, they added.
The seminar titled 'Promotion of reproductive health, gender equality and women's empowerment in the garment sector' was organised by Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) in collaboration with The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to mark the World Population Day at the BGMEA auditorium.
Sharmin Sultana, national programme officer of UNFPA, said childbirth at early age forces adolescent women to dropout from school and productive work.
As majority of the workforce including the garment workers are young they need reproductive education, she added.
She said about 56 percent of women in the country currently use birth control methods.
Fertility rate per woman in Bangladesh has come down to 2.7 which was about 7 in 1970, she added.
Bangladesh has the 8th largest population while it is the most densely populated country in the world.
There are about 35 lakh garment workers working in 4500 factories across the country.
Ataharul Islam, secretary-in-charge for labour and employment ministry, said the government is planning to expand health services for garment workers.
“Since the RMG sector depends on a large number of women workers it is important to provide them with health services and educate them about reproductive health,” he added.
“As majority of garment workers are at the reproductive age, it is our responsibility to educate them about family planning,” said BGMEA President Abdus Salam Murshedy.
He informed that the BGMEA operates 10 health clinics to provide health services to the workers.
BGMEA Vice Presidents Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin and Siddiqur Rahman, and Murad Hossain, project director of UNFPA, were present at the seminar.