View Full Version : Gloom deepens as boom lengthens

July 11, 2011, 12:48 AM
Efforts to limit population growth lacks 'priority' in Bangladesh, world's seventh densely populated country where the fertility transition is underway, signalling a future explosion of births, experts say.

The Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics' projection showed the number of population stood over 150 million this June. If the current trend continues, demographers predict the number will double in the next 50 years.

"Once the issue (population) was prioritised, but now it's not on top of government agenda," observed Dhiraj Kumar Nath, former director general for family planning.

He strongly felt that there must be 'specific' policies to limit population growth.

Due to the success of family planning programme in 1980s, fertility rate has declined rapidly from 6.3 in 1975 to 3.3 in 1994.

But statistics show over the decades, the country is experiencing slow pace in fertility decline—3.3 in 1994 to 2.5 in 2010—causing concern in reaching replacement level fertility, where couples would have just enough babies to replace themselves, by 2015.

On the other hand, there is no significant increase in contraceptives prevalence rate over the period 2000-2009 even though it increased seven folds during 1975 to 2000.

The use of long-acting and permanent birth-control methods has declined from 36 percent in 1989 to 13 percent in 2007, the latest Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey shows.

As the country observes World Population Day on Monday, the one question that confounds many is why family planning programmes fell apart, despite gaining momentum in the 1980s.

ICDDR, B's population scientist Peter Kim Streatfield attributed 'a combination of factors' to the family planning (FP) programme being in decline.

"Lack of coordination across the two directorates (family planning and health), some technical aspects of the fertility decline and a loss of donor support and motivation combine the factors," he told bdnews24.com.

"It (lack of coordination) 'obstructed' the adoption of necessary clinical family planning methods," he said, adding that the family planning programme had relied 'too much and for too long' on oral contraceptive pills only because 'these can be distributed by family planning fieldworkers.'

"They never successfully promoted medium, long acting and permanent methods as these require a smooth relationship between the staff of family planning and health, because the clinical methods require health staff," Streatfield said in an e-mail response.

Things started going wrong during the shift to sector-wide approach in 1997 which was supposed to combine the two wings or directorates together.

The plan was that the both directorates would be merged at field level and their staff would be managed by the Thana Manager.

"But there was strong resistance from family planning staff, because many of them would lose their jobs to health staff who had medical qualification," Streatfield said.

The long-lasting split between the "two wings" of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has been an obstacle to smooth referrals from family planning field staff across to health's clinical staff.

But the FP programme needs to accept that it cannot rely mainly on oral pills in future. Only 2 countries have more than 30 percent of couples using pills (Algeria and Morocco), Streatfield said.

"In Bangladesh with early marriage, many women are finished with childbearing before they reach 30. They need family planning for another 20-25 years.

"Therefore, long term methods are best for them, and cheaper for the country."

Streatfield said in the 1980s the family planning programme had a lot of momentum, good ratio of fieldworkers to population – there was recruitment of 10,000-15,000 family welfare visitors (FWAs) in late 1980s – and strong donor support as the family planning program was 90 percent funded by development budget up until 1998.

But, in the late 1980s the incentive payments to FP programme fieldworkers and service providers were stopped.

Besides that, the field staff (family welfare visitors) are getting old now–many were recruited in 1970s and 1980s, but no fresh recruitment had taken place since 1997.

"Now we are starting to recruit, but it is very late. More are needed."

The population scientist said another global issue was the 1994 Cairo Conference on Population and Development, which resulted in family planning being downgraded by many agencies including UNFPA.

"There was a global shift away from family planning to reproductive rights, and broader issues of sexually transmitted infections, women empowerment, which caused resources (financial and human resources) to be redirected away from FP program."

"But that has changed back a bit to emphasise population again partly because of concerns with global warming and the future negative impact of large and growing numbers of humans on the planet," Streatfield said.

Health and family welfare minister AFM Ruhal Haque on Sunday said the government attached 'highest' priority to the population problem, but he could not say how.

Dr Abu Jamil Faisel, country representative, Engender Health Bangladesh, said family planning programmes are still neglected.

"It got only 18 percent of the five-year sector plan's (July 2011 to June 2016) budget, while 21 percent have been allocated for infrastructure development, despite a robust structure in Bangladesh."

He said population programme suffer from 'leadership crisis.'

"National Population Council does not meet in time. The ministry's executive committee on population never met since its inception during the last caretaker government."

"It's time for the government to address population issue seriously," Nath, the former DG said.

"Or else, this small country will crumble under the pressure of its population in not-far-away future."

SOURCE (http://bdnews24.com/details.php?id=200544&cid=2)

July 14, 2011, 08:06 PM
It should have been our number one priority in our national agendas and been assigned more resources to this number one problem.

But it has not been because lot of our key politicians and their 'non-bengali' forefathers came from other parts of the subcontinet to Bangladesh.

So they do not have real patriotism. Some of their siblings are abroad, they will make money and retire and pass their retirment life with their siblings abroad making the whole country a burning hell.

Our common people are still blind and intellectuals are in money making business because one life to live on.

July 15, 2011, 07:01 AM
Will double? Are they serious?

July 15, 2011, 09:59 AM
Allah bachao! already manusher bhirer thelay rastay hata jay na...

July 16, 2011, 08:41 PM
Allah bachao! already manusher bhirer thelay rastay hata jay na...
Still 'amar sonar Bangla' to the greedy and incompetent politicians and their goons.:o

July 16, 2011, 11:30 PM
The United Nations Population Division has revised its head count figure for Bangladesh that drew flak from several quarters in 2010.

To one's surprise, the UN has also revised drastically the mid-century (2050) population projection for Bangladesh, according to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

The UNFPA on October 21, 2010 in its 'State of the World Population 2010' said that 'the population of Bangladesh is now 164.4 million, with an annual growth rate of 1.4 percent'.

The government, however, rejected the numbers outright, as it was 15 million more than the count of the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) that conducts census every 10 years.

Finance minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith binned the report saying it was 'unauthoised meddling'. "They (UNFPA) have no such right," he said after the report was released.

Finally, on May 3, 2011, the UN Population Division revised Bangladesh's population close to 149 million.

Prior to 2004, the UN Population Division estimated that Bangladesh's population would reach 218 million in 2050, and in 2004, they said it would be 243 million.

In 2006, they jumped up to 256 million and then dropped the figure in 2008 when they said Bangladesh's population would be 222.5 million, close to other estimates like the one of US Population Reference Bureau.

Now they say in 2050, Bangladesh's population would be 194 million and 'that is the peak – thereafter population declines'.

bdnews24.com tried drawing planning minister's attention to the issue at the release of the preliminary results of the 5th Population and Housing Census 2011, but he chose not to react.

Later prime minister's advisor Mashiur Rahman in his speech quipped, "In the world of knowledge, if we think we are the only wise people, then knowledge will not expand."

"We should also accept those, who cultivate knowledge," he added referring to a query bdnews24.com raised before the planning minister whether organisations other than the government's BBS had the mandate to generate population data.

"It's ridiculous," said Ahmed-al Sabir, a population researcher and consultant of USA-based Measure Evaluation.

"It only creates confusion," he said, adding that BBS should remove such confusions in a pro-active manner.

However, UNFPA assistant representative Noor Mohammad told bdnews24.com that they do not generate any population data.

"We bring out a world population report every year using data from population division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat."

"They generate the counts taking different countries' statistics," he said, adding that population projections can be different due to different methods of calculation.

"As census is conducted every 10 years, the UN Population Division generates those data during the interim periods," he said, adding all UN organisations use those data.

The preliminary results of the 5th Population and Housing Census 2011 showed Bangladesh's population hitting 142.319 million on March 15.

SOURCE (http://www.bdnews24.com/details.php?cid=2&id=201065&hb=4)

July 16, 2011, 11:32 PM
Bangladesh is now more crowded than ever before as the preliminary results of the 5th Population and Housing Census 2011 showed 17.964 million people adding in the last decade in the densely-populated country.

With 14.4 percent increase in the size of population, 964 people live in every square kilometer.

The results on Saturday showed the country's total population at 142.319 million on March 15, comprising an almost equal number of males and females – 71.255million and 71.064 million.

It also suggested that the population was growing at a rate of 1.34 percent annually, 0.24 percentage point decline from the 2001's 1.58 percent. The growth rate put the country at fourth spot in the region's lower population growing countries – Thailand, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, India and Malaysia.

With 2.1 percent, Sylhet has the highest growth rate followed by Dhaka, 1.8 percent and Chittagong 1.4 percent, while Barisal's population growth rate is zero.

With 8,111 people living every square kilometre, Dhaka is the most densely-populated district, while Bandarban is at the other extreme with only 86 people every square kilometre.

The number of households stands at 32.068 million, with average 4.4 people constituting one household.

According to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) that conducts census 10 years apart, the total population was 124.355 million in the 2001 preliminary results when 834 people lived in every square kilometre.

However, the preliminary results took many by surprise, as experts have long claimed that little headway has been made in limiting the population boom and BBS lacks 'competency' to hold a census 'efficiently'.

Releasing the key results in the capital, planning minister AK Khandker said the next step, post-enumeration quality check (PEC), would eliminate the errors before the final counts are released by November this year.

"BIDS (Bangladesh Institute of Development Statistics) has been assigned the task to prepare a neutral and acceptable PEC to determine the coverage and content errors of the census," he told journalists amidst a volley of questions on the quality of the process.

Reports of many people left uncounted during the census conducted between March 15 and March 19 had hit the headlines.

Census' project director Ashim Kumar Dey said, "We presented what we got – right or wrong."

Md Shahjahan Ali Mollah, director general of BBS, said it is the most quality census in the history. "We learnt many things from previous mistakes," he said.

Population expert Ahmed-al Sabir, consultant, USA based Measure Evaluation, described BBS' efforts as 'positive'.

"Earlier they took long time to release the preliminary findings, but this time they did it in time," he told bdnews24.com, suggesting 'careful adjustment of the final counts after PEC'.

AKM Nurun Nabi, professor of population, Dhaka University, said the preliminary results were not up to their expectations. "We did not get any idea about the urban and rural population pattern. I am also surprised seeing the equal sex ratio."

The BBS director general said the last decade saw over 4 million people migrating to overseas, which was higher than in the previous 30 years.

"Ninety-eight percent of those migrants are males," he argued to prove his point that the projected male-female ratio is 'surprising'.

"We will wait until the final counts," Prof Nabi said suggesting accurate PEC for quality counts.

Ensuring reliable data, the director general said the US Census Bureau is providing modern software and scanners, while the European Union and UNFPA are giving financial assistance, apart from those coming from the government.

The enumerators went door to door to collect data from people who stayed in Bangladesh during that period. At night, they counted floating people.

Foreigners who stayed during that time in Bangladesh were also counted, as they used 'de facto census' method.

But the results did not present any count of foreigners in the country.

Bangladesh has a long history of census. The first one was conducted in 1872. Since then census has been conducted every 10 years.

After the independence, the first population and housing census was held in 1974, when the preliminary results projected country's population at 71.48 million. The adjusted population was 76.40 million.

The final results will provide population size, growth, composition and distribution of the projection of food, education, infrastructure, employment, healthcare and assessment of various other basic requirements as well as analysis of past, present and future growth of population.

Based on the 2011 census, the Election Commission will update the electoral rolls for all national and local elections.

Experts suggest Barisal's zero growth rate deserves further in-depth analysis, as BBS in its report claims migration from the natural calamity-prone Barisal division was the reason for the no growth rate.


●Dhaka's population increased from 39.05 million to 46.73 million with 1.8 percent average annual growth rate
●Sylhet's population went up from 7.94 million to 9.8 million with 2.1 percent growth rate
●Chittagong's population was up from 24.29 million to 28.08 million at 1.4 percent rate
●Barisal's population decreased from 8.17 million to 8.15 million at zero annual growth.
●Khulna's population rose from 14.70 million to 15.56 million at 0.6 percent
●Rajshahi's population increased from 13.85 million to 15.66 million at 1.2 percent
●Rangpur's population growth was from 13.85 million to 15.66 million at 1.2 percent annual growth.

SOURCE (http://www.bdnews24.com/details.php?cid=2&id=201041&hb=2)

July 16, 2011, 11:38 PM
chinta nai ............ ekhon amra nodi khal bill bhoire jomi banacchi ...................... jongol kaite, pahar kaite jomi banacchi .........

inshallah ebhabe sob nodi-khal-bil bhorat kore felbo, so bon jongol kete felbo, including sundarban, sob pahar kete felbo, cox's bazar beach er bali replace kore mati diye bhore felbo, then Bay of bengal bhorat kore felbo, bay of bengal bhorat korte korte aste aste indidian ocean tau mati bhorat kore deokhol kore felbo.

tokhon ar jomi er obhaab hobe na,

July 17, 2011, 12:46 AM
But it has not been because lot of our key politicians and their 'non-bengali' forefathers came from other parts of the subcontinet to Bangladesh.

I am a bit puzzled by this statement, who were you implying ?!

July 17, 2011, 05:15 AM
140 Million is kind of hard to believe !!
Its like going back in time.
Have heard of that population figure back in the early 90's and was under the impression that it bulged out to somewhere between 160-170 Million by now.

Though I'd loved to take that 140.
Makes me feel like less crowded :-D
Also, with the annual growth rate, the projected population changes drastically !!

August 3, 2011, 07:38 AM
Population will in no way double and those who predict gloom are idiots. Simply put, there is not enough food for population to double. As people begin to starve, they will automatically use contraceptives and have less children. BD's TFR is already 2.3, and remember, 2.1 is the minimum required for zero population growth. That is why I don't worry about "overpopulation".

August 3, 2011, 11:29 AM
Population will in no way double and those who predict gloom are idiots. Simply put, there is not enough food for population to double. As people begin to starve, they will automatically use contraceptives and have less children. BD's TFR is already 2.3, and remember, 2.1 is the minimum required for zero population growth. That is why I don't worry about "overpopulation".

Source please :)

August 4, 2011, 01:55 PM
This is one source: http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=3&ved=0CCoQFjAC&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.un.org%2Fesa%2Fpopulation%2Fp ublications%2Fcompletingfertility%2F2RevisedRAHMAN paper.PDF&rct=j&q=bangladesh%20TFR%202.3&ei=Cus6TtbfMI7rrQfKgen2Dw&usg=AFQjCNES9JE_G3TxZyCFAjxYUTs7kTql0A&cad=rja

August 4, 2011, 01:56 PM
For those who don't want to read the whole paper, it says that BD's TFR is 2.3-2.4