African ministers and British politicians joined conservationist Jonathan Porritt and the British Medical Association’s ethics chief Vivienne Nathanson at the symposium focusing on population dynamics, reproductive health and climate change.
Vik Mohan, a British GP, told delegates about an innovative project that addresses the plight of women like Vivienne, who lives in a remote village in south west Madagascar.
The 33-year-old mother-of-ten is desperate not to have any more children. Exhausted and struggling to feed her growing family, she faces a 50 km hike through spiny forest to reach the nearest contraceptive clinic. Vivienne’s predicament is not unusual. In the last five years, the number of children in her village has doubled. The need to feed them and the rest of the village has led to massive over-fishing, and collapse of the delicate coral reef fisheries on which they depend.
Dr Mohan responded to the villagers’ desire for contraceptive services, and piloted a powerful, cheap, grassroots solution – a local barefoot family planning clinic. Working for award-winning marine conservation organisation Blue Ventures, and with support from Marie Stopes International and Population and Sustainability Network, his team has offered contraceptive choices to those living in the tiny coastal villages around Andavadoaka in south western
Dr Mohan explains: “The women and men who come to our clinics are crying out for the means of exerting control over their fertility.
“20% of the predicted population global growth over the next 40 years will be because of unintended births, and with adequate health care provision this can be reduced by over two thirds.
“Much of the growth in population will be in areas of high biodiversity, and the communities that are the custodians of that biodiversity often don't have access to family planning.
“What our project demonstrates is the effectiveness and reproducibility of taking an integrated approach to public health and conservation.”The International Policy Symposium on the Connection between Population Dynamics, Reproductive Health and Rights and Climate Change took place at the British Medical Association in London hosted by the BMA, UK-based Population and Sustainability Network, the Commonwealth Medical Association Trust and the
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