The Directorate General of Family Planning (DGFP) has started working to bring the adult Rohingya refugees sheltered in Bangladesh under a family planning programme.
At least 200 DGFP workers are campaigning in the Ukhiya and Teknaf refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar trying to raise awareness about family planning and birth control.
The campaigners are finding out however, that Rohingya women have no idea what birth control is. There is no access to birth control in Myanmar’s Rakhine state. Workers told the Dhaka Tribune the refugees are only now finding out that there are ways to prevent impregnation.
Even though some of the women are willing to accept contraceptive methods from the DGFP workers, they say their husbands are strongly against it.
This correspondent spoke to two Rohingya women, Jarina Begum and Marium Khatun, who said that they believed children were blessings from Allah and it would be a sin to resist the birth.
“We do not need to have birth control pills. We did not have anything like this in our Myanmar,” Jarina said.
Rohingya men Abdul Shukur and Farid Alam said Bangladeshi doctors had told them about birth control methods repeatedly and they were enthusiastic about it, but their wives were unwilling to accept it.
Cox’s Bazar DGFP officials said their operations at the refugee camps were offering three methods of birth control for free: condoms, contraceptive pills and DMPA injections.
A total of seven medical teams are working to promote birth control in the Rohingya camps.
Dr Pintu Kanti Bhattacharya, deputy director of Cox’s Bazar DGFP, said: “More than 25,000 expecting Rohinya mothers have fled Myanmar and entered Bangladesh since August 25. More than 700 children were were born since then. “
At least 10,000 more Rohingya mothers will give birth very soon, he added.