The Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) of women are not well addressed in Bangladesh. The status of women suffers at the hand of a patriarchal social structure, early marriage and pregnancy, limited social mobility, low self esteem, and low community status. In addition, their bodies and health needs are considered a culturally ‘taboo’ subject. Their low status and cultural taboo result in a gendered distribution of health care resources. Naripokkho aims to change that. Started in 1983, Naripokkho is a 110 member strong organization that focuses on countering violence against women, promoting women’s human rights, promoting women’s SRHR, challenging negative cultural norms surrounding women’s roles and contributions, and women’s political empowerment.
Naripokkho believes that meaningful change can come from:
Strengthening civil society networks to actively support the work that the partnership is doing as well as joining in as allies for our advocacy calls
Making the public more responsive which includes ensuring that there is general public support for women’s SRHR issues
Creating and enforcing Oversight Mechanisms (OMs) to ensure that functional hospital and health centres prioritize SRHR
• a workshop with local government and hospital management committees resulted in the addition of adolescent reproductive health to school curriculum
•the collection and analysis of 10 cases of maternal mortality from 3 hospitals showcased issues such as: a weak referral system, poor communication, service provider negligence, inadequate services available, and a lack of community awareness relating to maternal health and needs. These findings will soon be presented at a seminar organized by the National Human Rights Commission.
• Nairpokkho worked with community based organiations (CBOs) to organize quarterly meetings with health care alliances. These meetings produced actions plans, which spurred monthly hospital visits. The findings from these visits were relayed directly to authorities and positive changes attributed to these meetings include: greater access to safe drinking water and better hygiene in Patuakhalo, greater reliability from a doctor at the Dashmina Upazila Health Complex, the implementation of a health camp to serve the Chor area, a repaired x- ray machine at the Amtoli Upazila health complex and a repaired ambulance at Patharghata Upazila Health Complex.
Increasing Public Awareness:
•Naripokkho, with the help of community based organizations (CBO’S) organized celebrations for the International Day of Action for Women on May 27th in 3 different districts of Bangladesh. Nine press briefings were organized before the event, and 26 print media sources covered the events.
•the event included an opinion poll, and education component, which resulted in 99.81% of participants becoming aware of pre- delivery health services.
The Women’s Health and Rights Advocacy Partnership (WHRAP) -South Asia aims to promote marginalized women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Pakistan. WHRAP combines grassroots evidence with national and international advocacy to promote the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) of women. http://www.whrap.org