In response to the unmet family planning needs of Madagascar’s semi-nomadic Vezo fishing communities, we have developed a community health programme which offers couples the information and contraceptive options they need to freely choose the number and spacing of their births.
We started providing health services by running outreach clinics in remote villages, and these still continue in some areas. We also train and support networks of local women to provide community-based family planning services in collaboration with Population Services International. They offer counselling and products including condoms, hormonal pills and injectable contraceptives as well as mosquito nets, water purifying solution, diarrhoea treatment kits and antenatal medication. We also partner with Marie Stopes Madagascar to offer long-acting reversible contraceptives on a regular basis.
We facilitate a diverse range of peer education activities to support the sustained adoption of healthier practices by all community members. Radio shows, community theatre and small group discussions engage men, women and youth in topics ranging from maternal and child health to fisheries management.
This integrated approach fosters broad community participation, for example, opening up discussions about family planning with men by relating food security concerns to reproductive health.
Gaining access to family planning services improves maternal and child health outcomes, allows girls to delay their first pregnancy until after they have completed their education, and affords women more opportunities to be economically active.
Couples are empowered to plan and better provide for their families; improving food security, and boosting the sustainability of local conservation efforts. Coastal communities are able to live more healthily and sustainably with their marine environment, building social and ecological resilience to climate change.
This community health programme is a key component of Blue Ventures’ critically acclaimed Population-Health-Environment (PHE) approach, which addresses the interconnected challenges of poor health, unmet family planning needs, food insecurity, environmental degradation and vulnerability to climate change in a holistic way.
Having experienced the immense value of integrating health services with biodiversity conservation initiatives, we are now supporting other organisations to adopt this approach. We are doing this by supporting the development of the Madagascar PHE Network, and facilitating cross-sector partnerships among its members.
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London, UK: Three Things That We Can Learn About Sustainable Development From Madagascar by Laura Robson in The Huffington Post
Antananarivo, Madagascar – Health and conservation sectors unite to establish a broad network of policy makers, funders and practitioners committed to reinforcing an integrated approach to sustainable development in Madagascar
Antananarivo, Madagascar - A meeting in Antananarivo later this month will bring together policy makers, funders and NGO practitioners to galvanise the broader adoption of the integrated Population-Health-Environment (PHE) approach in Madagascar.
St Andrews, Scotland, UKAn innovative project integrating community-based health services with locally-led marine conservation initiatives has won this year’s St Andrews Prize for the Environment.
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