The total fertility rate in Bangladesh is now 2.0 and the life expectancy at birth is now 73 years, according to the State of World Population Report 2020.
Total fertility rate is the total number of children born or likely to be born to a woman in her life time if she were subject to the prevailing rate of age-specific fertility in the population, according to World Health Organisation.
The report was released by United Nations Population Fund, the UN’s sexual and reproductive health agency, on Tuesday.
Bangladesh total fertility rate per woman was 2.3 in 2019, according to the Directorate General of Family Planning.
The life expectancy at birth in the country was 72.6 in 2019, according to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics.
Although the country’s performance was good in the two indicators, the rate of child marriage and contraceptive use has not increased much.
The report showed that 59 per cent of the marriages in Bangladesh occur before the bride reaches 18.
And at least 10 per cent of young women were married or in unions before the age of 15, it said.
The contraceptive prevalence rate among women aged 15–49 of any kind of method is 54 per cent but the rate of using modern method is 48 per cent.
Besides, the unmet need for family planning among married women aged 15–49 is 11 per cent.
Proportion of demand not satisfied with modern methods among women aged 15–49 is 25 per cent, according to the report.
UNFPA Bangladesh office in a release said that Bangladesh has one of the highest prevalence of child marriage in the region.
‘While much efforts have been made over the years to end child marriage, continued investments and action is urgently required, especially in the context of COVID-19. In times of hardship and crisis, it is estimated that harmful practices such as child marriage may increase,’ it said.
It also identified two harmful practices, which are considered human rights violations, in Bangladesh: child marriage and bias against daughters in favour of sons.
‘We must foster respect for women and girls by changing entrenched cultural attitudes and practices. This means disrupting root causes of inequality and respecting girls’ autonomy,’ said Asa Torkelsson, UNFPA Representative in Bangladesh during a virtual press conference to launch the report.
Ministry of Women and Child Affairs secretary Kazi Rowshan Akhter highlighted the progress that has been made over the years, particularly the launch of the National Action Plan to End Child Marriage in August 2018.
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