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Articles by Category for ‘Family Planning’

Contraception: Saving Lives… and the Planet

Friday, September 26th, 2014

Contraception: Saving Lives… and the Planet 

See: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-walker/contraception-saving-live_b_5884600.html

 

On Friday, September 26, the world is celebrating World Contraception Day. Okay, ‘celebrating’ may be too strong a word. ‘Observing’ may be more like it. And the number of people actually observing the day in some form is probably small. Okay, very small. To borrow a phrase from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, the world “will little note, nor long remember” World Contraception Day 2014. That’s too bad. For in truth, there’s a whole lot to celebrate, and a whole lot more left to do if men and women everywhere are going to have access to the contraceptive method of their choice.

The obvious reason for celebrating modern contraceptives is that they allow us to have children by choice, rather than by chance. They minimize, in other words, the chances of an unintended or unwanted pregnancy. That mere fact itself is worth a celebratory cheer, but there is a lot more to get excited about.

Contraception is a life-saver.

Contraception saves lives
, particularly in developing nations where access to contraception can mean the difference between life and death for girls and women who do not have access to adequate medical care. This is particularly true for child brides who are not physically mature enough to give birth, but pregnancy is a significant health risk for women of any age who are unable to space their pregnancies more than 18 months apart.

In the United States, very few women die from pregnancy-related causes, but in some rural parts of Africa, women have a 1 in 30 lifetime chance of dying as a result of a pregnancy. Of the 800 women in the world who die every day from pregnancy-related causes, the vast majority are in the developing world.

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Beyond Marriage

Friday, September 26th, 2014

Beyond Marriage 

See: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/14/opinion/sunday/beyond-marriage.html?emc=eta1&_r=1

 

MARRIAGE is disappearing. More than 40 percent of new mothers are unmarried. Many young adults drift into parenthood unintentionally. They may be cohabiting at the time of their child’s birth, but about half of these couples will have split up by the time their child is 5 years old. College-educated young adults are still marrying before having children and planning their families more intentionally. The rest of America, about two-thirds of the population, is not.

 
We’ve been worrying about these trends for years, and wondering: Can marriage be restored as the standard way to raise children? As much as we might welcome a revival, I doubt that it will happen. The genie is out of the bottle. What we need instead is a new ethic of responsible parenthood. If we combine an updated social norm with greater reliance on the most effective forms of birth control, we can transform drifters into planners and improve children’s life prospects.

 
The drifters need better educational and job opportunities, but unless we come to grips with what is happening to marriage and parenting, progress will be limited. For every child lifted out of poverty by a social program, another one is entering poverty as a result of the continued breakdown of the American family. If we could turn back the marriage clock to 1970, before the sharp rise in divorce and single parenthood began, the child poverty rate would be 20 percent lower than it is now. Even some of our biggest social programs, like food stamps, do not reduce child poverty as much as unmarried parenthood has increased it.

See: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/14/opinion/sunday/beyond-marriage.html?emc=eta1&_r=1

In Texas & Around The World: Women’s Rights Matter for The Environment

Friday, September 26th, 2014

Why Women’s Rights Matter for The Environment

See: http://www.tribtalk.org/2014/09/16/why-womens-rights-matter-for-the-environment/

Texas women have suffered major setbacks to their reproductive health and rights this year.

 

At the federal level, the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision has made it more difficult for women to access their contraceptive method of choice. At the state level, the Legislature and Gov. Rick Perry have enacted new restrictions on clinics providing basic women’s health care and family planning services.

 
Of course, these decisions hurt Texas women and their families – but they also increase the risk of social, economic and environmental harm in our great state.

 
When women and their medical providers are prevented from making personal health care decisions, the negative consequences are far-reaching. A woman’s inability to control the number, timing and spacing of her children impacts her health, education and career. Moreover, the cumulative impact of women having more children than they desire strains public health systems and natural resources such as water, energy and healthy food.

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High Listenership and Good Stories Combine for Large-Scale Behavior Change in Sierra Leone

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

FREETOWN, SIERRA LEONE– Imagine that for 53 cents, you could reach someone in Sierra Leone with entertaining stories that educate about family planning and using bednets to prevent malaria. A United States nonprofit discovered this month that they didn’t have to imagine – the impact was real.

Population Media Center (PMC), a nonprofit, international organization that strives to improve the health and well-being of people around the world with entertainment-education strategies, recently completed an impact evaluation of one of its programs in Sierra Leone. Saliwansai (“Puppet on a String”) was a 208-episode drama that aired on nine radio stations throughout Sierra Leone from April 2012 through April 2014.

“We’re excited by the results from the research survey, which was conducted with a nationally representative sample size of 1,098 respondents,” says Kriss Barker, PMC’s Vice President of International Programs. “The results clearly demonstrate the impact of the radio drama. It was entertaining, and the people of Sierra Leone tuned in.”

The results indicate that Saliwansai reached a total estimated audience of three million people between the ages of 15 and 59 years old. The results also estimate that the cost per behavior change for the listeners who, as a result of listening to the program, began discussing family planning with family, friends, or neighbors was $2.54 US and listeners who began using bednets to prevent malaria was $1.62 US.

“The cost per behavior change is important and demonstrates the power of our approach,” says Barker. “Behavior is a hard thing to change and to do it for these costs is remarkable.”

PMC uses a unique form of entertainment-education: long-running serial dramas on radio and TV. These dramas are based on real-life, mirroring every day challenges and solutions and using country data to determine which social and health issues will be addressed in each drama.

The results of Saliwansai on individual metrics demonstrate varying levels of success, such as listeners being:

  • 3.1 times more likely than non-listeners to say that you can decrease your chance of getting AIDS by using a condom every time you have sex
  • 4.1 times more likely than non-listeners to say it’s okay for information about condoms to be discussed on the radio
  • 2.9 times more likely than non-listeners to say they know where they could get a condom if they wanted one
  • 3.7 times more likely than non-listeners to say that a healthy-looking person can have HIV
  • 2.4 times more likely than non-listeners to say they would buy fresh vegetables from someone who has HIV
  • 2.3 times more likely than non-listeners to say that becoming pregnant every year can impact the health of the mother
  • 1.6 times more likely than non-listeners to say they know of an organization or people that advocate against domestic violence

“Results like these are promising,” says Scott Connolly, PMC’s Director of Research. “Sierra Leone  ranks as one of the lowest in the world on some of the United Nations Human Development Index health indicators. We’re pleased to address some of these issues with Saliwansai as part of the ongoing effort to improve life in Sierra Leone.”

 

ABOUT POPULATION MEDIA CENTER (PMC):

Population Media Center is a nonprofit, international nongovernmental organization, which strives to improve the health and well-being of people around the world through the use of entertainment-education strategies, like serialized dramas on radio and television, in which characters evolve into role models for the audience for positive behavior change. Founded in 1998, PMC has over 15 years of field experience using the Sabido methodology of behavior change communications, impacting more than 50 countries around the world. www.populationmedia.org

Condoms and Soap Operas to Save the World: A Forum in Arizona

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

TUCSON, ARIZONA– About 140 people learned about endangered species condoms and soap operas as methods to save the world on September 10th in Tucson, Arizona. The event, titled “How Can Condoms and Soap Operas Save the World?” was co-hosted by the Arizona Chapter of Population Media Center, the Center for Biological Diversity, and the University of Arizona’s Department of Communication.

The audience gathered to hear Bill Ryerson, President of the Population Media Center (PMC), Kieran Suckling, the Director of the Center for Biological Diversity, and Jennifer Aubrey, Associate Professor of Communications at the University of Arizona discuss domestic and international efforts to bring about positive social change. Continue Reading »

New Study Finds that 40% of Pregnancies Worldwide are Unintended

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

NEW STUDY FINDS THAT 40% OF PREGNANCIES WORLDWIDE ARE UNINTENDED

Findings Highlight Need for Increased Investment in Contraceptive Services
See: http://www.guttmacher.org/media/nr/2014/09/17/sfp-sedgh-up.html
Of the 213 million pregnancies that occurred worldwide in 2012, 40%-about 85 million-were unintended, about the same proportion as in 2008, when 42% of all pregnancies globally were unintended. The new study, “Intended and Unintended Pregnancies Worldwide in 2012 and Recent Trends,” by Gilda Sedgh et al. of the Guttmacher Institute, found that the proportion of pregnancies that are unintended varied considerably by region. The highest proportions were in Latin America and the Caribbean (56%) and North America (51%), and the lowest were in Africa (35%), Oceania (37%) and Asia (38%); Europe’s proportion was the closest to the global average (45%).

 
In addition to documenting the proportions of pregnancies that are unintended across regions, the study examined recent trends in unintended pregnancy rates per 1,000 women of reproductive age. The researchers found that the average annual decline in the global unintended pregnancy rate between 2008 and 2012 was very small, compared with the average annual decline between 1995 and 2008. In 2012, there were 53 unintended pregnancies per 1,000 women aged 15-44, compared with 57 in 2008.

 
Overall, between 2008 and 2012, the unintended pregnancy rate remained steady in developed regions-44, on average-but it remained higher than average in North America (51). In less developed regions, it declined from 59 to 54; most of this decline resulted from declines in the Latin American and Caribbean region (76 to 68) and in Africa (86 to 80). There was less of a decline in Asia, where the rate (46) was more comparable to that in Europe (43) and in Oceania (43).

 

See: http://www.guttmacher.org/media/nr/2014/09/17/sfp-sedgh-up.html

Climate Change and World Population: Still Avoiding Each Other

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

Climate Change and World Population: Still Avoiding Each Other 

See: http://passblue.com/2014/09/16/climate-change-and-world-population-still-avoiding-each-other/
Despite their intimate relationship, climate change and world population are still not talking to each other. The lack of meaningful dialogue has persisted for decades, with both seeming to deliberately ignore the significance, relevance and impact of the other.

 
With the simultaneous convening on Sept. 22 of a special session of the United Nations General Assembly marking the 20th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development and the UN Climate Summit on Sept. 23, this estranged relationship is now more glaring. Both gatherings are taking place within shouting distance of one another at UN headquarters in New York.

 
With growing concerns and uncertainties about the extent of the detrimental consequences of rapid population growth and climate change, the international community of nations convened the first World Population Conference in 1974 and the first World Climate Conference in 1979. Growing at 2 percent annually, global population increases reached a record high, doubling the world population in just 38 years. At the same time, rising amounts of carbon dioxide spewing into the atmosphere pointed to a gradual warming of the earth, especially at higher latitudes. The recommendations for action emanating from these groundbreaking conferences, however, essentially ignored each other.

See: http://passblue.com/2014/09/16/climate-change-and-world-population-still-avoiding-each-other/

Population, not politics, threatens Pakistan

Monday, September 15th, 2014

Population, not politics, threatens Pakistan 

See: http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/67778df6-38ec-11e4-a53b-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3CwnJ1R31

While the politicians fight each other in Islamabad for control of Pakistan, they make no mention in their fiery speeches of the real crisis likely to stunt prosperity for generations. According to economists and demographers, the explosion that endangers Pakistan is not political but demographic.

 
At independence in 1947, there were 33m Pakistanis. Today there are about 200m, making the nation the sixth most populous in the world. By 2050, the population will reach 302m, if the standard projection of the Population Council, a non-government group based in New York, proves correct.

 
However, the number of inhabitants in 2050 could be as high as 395m or as low as 266m, depending on whether the fertility rate remains stable or declines rapidly from the current level of 3.8 children per woman. The gap between the highest and lowest forecasts is huge, exceeding the population of most countries.

 
The strain on natural resources (especially water), government services, infrastructure and families is already immense and will worsen – even if Islamabad suddenly boosts family-planning programmes to meet popular demand for contraception and so ensures the population grows at the lowest of the predicted rates.

See: http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/67778df6-38ec-11e4-a53b-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3CwnJ1R31

Hobby Lobby Creates Open Season For Birth Control Lawsuits

Monday, September 15th, 2014

Hobby Lobby Creates Open Season For Birth Control Lawsuits 

See: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/hobby-lobby-declared-open-season-for-birth-control-lawsuits

Ten weeks after Hobby Lobby, the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling has emboldened a swath of separate legal attacks on birth control, many of which experts say have a real chance of succeeding.

In a case heard in an appeals court court this week, a Missouri state representative named Paul Joseph Wieland and his wife sued the Obama administration over the contraceptive coverage mandate because it could let their three teenage daughters access birth control in their family insurance plan at no extra cost.

 
“The employees are to Hobby Lobby what the daughters are to Paul and Teresa Wieland,” Timothy Belz, the attorney for the Wielands, told the three judges, as quoted by MSNBC. Belz’s message was that the Wielands object to birth control and expect their children to follow their religious beliefs. His case was previously thrown out by a district court judge.

 
The lawsuit is one of dozens of attacks on birth control coverage that enjoy new life as a result of the landmark Hobby Lobby decision. The Supreme Court’s ruling applied only to the four types of emergency birth control methods (emergency contraceptives Plan B and Ella, as well as two types of IUDs) that were challenged, but lawyers quickly saw an opening to attack contraceptive coverage more broadly because the justices didn’t distinguish the methods.

See: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/hobby-lobby-declared-open-season-for-birth-control-lawsuits

Stoddard: Bill Ryerson, Global Vermonter

Monday, September 15th, 2014

Stoddard: Bill Ryerson, Global Vermonter 

See: http://digital.vpr.net/post/stoddard-bill-ryerson-global-vermonter

In his office in Shelburne VT, Bill Ryerson, founder and president of Population Media Center or PMC is unassuming, as he jokes about a foot-high stack of folders on his desk he still needs to deal with at the end of the day, before resuming a relentless travel schedule.

 
(Ryerson) Well, next week I will be in Washington DC speaking at the International Best Practices Meeting. The following day I’m speaking at the Inter-American Development Bank and have several other meetings. Then I fly to Ethiopia. I’ll spend nine days there with our country representative, meeting with donor agencies like UN agencies and embassies, to seek their support for what we hope will be our ninth program on Radio Ethiopia.

 
He’s pitching soap opera as one of the most powerful catalysts for social change. Ryerson has worked in more than 50 countries using the power of entertainment media to shift behavior patterns. PMC’s popular radio and TV serial dramas with compelling characters as role models, have led to significant change in both attitude and actions.

 
(Ryerson) We’ve reached well over a hundred million people. We have clearly seen dramatic increases in family planning use, dramatic increases in willingness to send daughters to school, which of course is a very important factor in both human rights, the human rights of women to be educated, and in delaying marriage and child-bearing until adulthood.

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