with Bangladesh since 1974, the primary objective of
the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is to improve
the quality of life of both women and men in Bangladesh
by reducing maternal mortality and morbidity and infant mortality by providing contraceptives to reduce unwanted pregnancies,
and stabilizing population growth in the country. Through
its efforts, UNFPA has been helping the Government
in its efforts to achieve its demographic objectives
of achieving Net Reproductive Rate (NRR) = 1.
UNFPA Bangladesh has been assisting the Government
of Bangladesh through its National AIDS and STD Programme
(NASP) Office on an HIV/AIDS Prevention Project (HAPP).
This particular project addresses primarily the need
for urgent and rapid scaling up of targeted interventions,
institutionalizing HIV prevention initiatives
through mainstreaming HIV/AIDS work into other major
national development programmes. Besides this project,
prevention of HIV, particularly among youth and
adolescents, is integrated into several projects supported
by UNFPA. One of such initiative is “Improving
Reproductive Health of Adolescent Girls in Bangladesh
through Peer Education and Personal Social Education”,
with support from United Nations Foundation (UNF).
This project aims at improving the reproductive health
of rural married adolescent girls in Bangladesh. In
this initiative, UNFPA is focusing on educating married
adolescent girls on their reproductive rights and health,
while sensitizing parents, community leaders and health
service providers on the RH needs of adolescent girls.
UNICEF is complementing this initiative by supporting
unmarried adolescent girls in realizing their potential
as agents of social change.
Another example of a youth-targeted HIV prevention
project is Advocacy on Reproductive Health and Gender
issues through Youth Clubs, executed by the Ministry of
Youth and Sports and implemented by the Department of Youth
Development. One of the main activities in the project
is to train youth leaders and scouts on RH. HIV/AIDS prevention
is an integral part of this training. Reproductive
Health education for in-school adolescents through
peer education and family life education for out-of-school
adolescents through non-formal sessions are also two
major projects assisted by UNFPA Bangladesh, where
HIV/AIDS-related information is provided and awareness
development activities are part of these projects.
All the projects are in operation, are part of
UNFPA’s sixth country
Programme, and were planned in consultation with the Government of Bangladesh,
the private sector and local NGOs. The projects are funded by UNFPA and are
monitored by both UNFPA and the government. While the projects in the short
run will lead to increased awareness of HIV/AIDS among different high risk
groups, the long term objective for all above-mentioned projects with regard
to HIV/AIDS is to contribute to the prevention of HIV.