Journal Article

Achieving the Cairo conference (ICPD) goal for youth in Bangladesh

Sexual and reproductive health education is not yet formally introduced in Bangladesh without which the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo’s goal to ensure young people’s right to access to such information and services will remain unfulfilled. The Population Council provided technical assistance to a governmental department to pilot youth reproductive health education. Study findings from the pre- and posttests of 379 matched respondents revealed significant changes in knowledge, attitudes, and life-skills. Knowledge about long-term contraceptives and skills on negotiating safe sex improved significantly by 63% and 26%, respectively. Youths who do not consider menstruation as a disease nearly doubled, and misunderstandings about the mother’s role in sex determination of a child were significantly dispelled. Decisions not to accompany friends in visiting sex workers and to use condoms, ignoring friends’ disapproval, were increased over 18%. Over 98% of students reported that teachers discussed condoms, while only 12% alleged unfriendly behavior. Findings motivated the department to scale up the reproductive health curriculum.