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Wednesday, November 19, 2014, Agrahayan 5, 1421, Muharram 25, 1436 Hijr

Investment in health services may pay BD huge dividend: UNFPA Report
Staff Correspondent
Publish Date : 2014-11-19,  Publish Time : 00:00,  View Count : 0
Investing in sexual and reproductive and health services, Bangladesh could bring about a significant change regarding maternal mortality levels as its 30 percent population are youths, aged 10-24 years, according to The State of World Population 2014.
It says the high levels of adolescent fertility (118 per 1000) and the resulting morbidity and mortality rates could also be reversed if investment in the health services is increased.
The State of World Population 2014, titled 'Power of 1.8 Billion' was revealed by UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, at the Jatiya Press Club in the capital on Tuesday.
State Minister for Health and Family Welfare Zahid Malik, UNFPA country representative Argentina Matavel and country director of Population Council Dr Ubaidur Rob spoke on the occasion.
The UNPFA reports projected that only 10-19 percent of Bangladesh's population will consist of young people by 2050, so it needs to invest right now in the human capital of its young people if the country wants to reap the benefits of a large demographic dividend.
It is also important to invest in adolescent friendly health services so that young people have access to accurate and affordable information and services which are not judgmental and meet their needs.
"These services, in addition to preventing the occurrence of adolescent pregnancies, also look into the needs of adolescent mothers - which are very specific and different to the needs of older mother," the report says.
It also suggested Bangladesh for investing in quality education, employment opportunities, civic participation and health services, including sexual and reproductive health for the young people.
State Minister Zahid Malik said the young generation is a power of the country and if their potential could be explored, they will be
turned into resources. "If we want to make the young generation as resource, they must be educated and are engaged in productive works," he added.
Terming terrorism and drug addiction as global problems, the junior minister said if work opportunities are created for the youths, terrorism and drug addiction among them will be removed from the country.
UNFPA country representative Argentina Matavel stressed introducing comprehensive sexual and reproductive health education, aiming to aware the youths of their reproductive rights.
"We've a responsibility to education and health, including sexual and reproductive health education and services. If we invest in youths, they can effectively engage in realising the post-2015 development agenda," she added.
Highlighting the global scenario, the State of World Population 2014 says developing countries with large youth populations could see their economies soar, provided they invest heavily in young people's education and health and protect their rights.
The potential economic gains would be realised through a "demographic dividend," which can occur when a county's working age population is larger than the population that is dependent and younger, the report
But to maximise the dividend, countries must ensure their young working-age population are equipped to seize opportunities for jobs and other income earning possibilities.
With the right policies and investments in human capital, countries can empower young people to drive economic and social development and boost per capita incomes, the report states.
The UNFPA report shows that demographic shifts taking place in about 60 countries are opening a window for a demographic dividend. The size of the dividend depends largely on how those countries invest in young people to realise their full potentials.

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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