Big global challenge: Men don’t like condoms

August 30, 2013 • Family Planning, Reproductive Health, News

Big global challenge: Men don’t like condoms

Global scarcity is intrinsically linked to population growth. Apocalyptic talk of looming food shortages, limited fresh water, and wars over diminishing natural resources can’t be divorced from the fact that in many developing countries, populations are booming.

When discussion turns to the role of population growth in scarcity-linked global challenges, though, one shortage that underlies it all is lack of access to contraception for more than 200 million women in sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia (primarily India). And it’s not talked about enough outside the circles of nongovernmental organizations and government ministers of health.

“There are more than two hundred million women in the world today would like to avoid getting pregnant and yet aren’t able to use modern methods of contraception,” said Judy Manning, an expert on reproductive health at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

“This is a top-five global issue, and it’s still an afterthought,” said Saundra Pelletier, CEO of WomanCare Global, an international non-profit healthcare company, structured using a hybrid business model that draws from strategies of the commercial and non-profit sectors.

The 2012 London Summit on Family Planning, co-hosted by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, received a $2.6 billion commitment to serve at least 120 million women worldwide and address the issue of 80 million unintended pregnancies a year, 30 million unplanned births and 40 million abortions..

But a global family planning policy guided by donations alone won’t get the job done.

“NGOs having been doing great work, but it needs to be escalated to a higher level. When we are talking about scarcity, if we don’t include this, we are just putting a Band-Aid on the problem,” said Pelletier, who was formerly an international franchise leader for Searle Pharmaceutical. The company was ultimately by Pharmacia, which eventually merged with Pfizer.

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