Total fertility rates have decreased dramatically during the last 36 years in Bangladesh, from 6.3 births per woman in 1971 to 2.7 in 2006. In the same time frame, contraceptive prevalence rates have continued to climb, from 8 percent in 1975 to 56 percent in 2007.
As an avid partner of the government of Bangladesh’s efforts, the USAID-funded Smiling Sun network of 320 clinics plays a significant role in ensuring short- and long-term family planning methods are available to all clients. Smiling Sun Franchise Program is on track to post a record-setting year in couple years protection, forecasting 1.41 million couple years protection.
Recognized for its role in providing consumer-driven family planning options to Bangladeshis, Smiling Sun-affiliated nongovernmental organizations captured four of the six divisional awards for best nongovernmental organizations working in family planning. These awards were awarded by the government of Bangladesh in honor of World Population Day. Also receiving awards were: Nishkriti in Chittagong; Paribar Kallyan Samity (PKS) for its work in Khulna; Swanirvar Bangladesh (Smiling Sun Clinic) in Lalmohan; and Bola, Barisal, and SHIMANTIK for their work in Shylhet.
Smiling Sun clinics receive technical and financial support from the USAID-funded Smiling Sun Franchise Program. “Without the support of (Smiling Sun) clinics’ staff, we could not have achieved this,” noted the project director, Dr. Alam of Nishkriti. PKS project director, Mrs. Farida, agreed: “It is the effective and efficient role of the PKS Smiling Sun Clinics that helped the organization to achieve the award.” For SHIMANTIK, Smiling Sun accounts for roughly 75 percent of its family planning activities.
Smiling Sun clinics provide a balanced mix of family planning services to its customers that includes all modern methods (from short term to long term). This allows clinics to maintain a high service output while ensuring customers are able to choose the most appropriate method for their needs. “(We) increase the quality of life of our people. As a result, we feel proud to be partners of national development,” said Dr. Alam.