A message from our Director
All of us here at Population Matters want to express our shared concern at the COVID-19 outbreak and its impacts upon people and societies globally. At PM, we are fortunate in that we already all work from home, so it hasn’t had the impact on us that many other organisations are facing. We have had to cancel or postpone some plans, but we’re continuing with our core work and thank you, as always, for your support. We very much hope all our members and supporters are staying safe and following the best medical and official advice.
We are inspired by the tireless work of health care professionals and communities around the world and call on governments to do all they can to protect lives and livelihoods. That also means that those of us in richer countries should not forget that the virus could have an even more devastating impact where people are poorer and infrastructure and health services are weaker. At a time when borders are closing, it’s important we pull together as a global community.
You may have heard about the links between recent pandemics like coronavirus and the destruction of our natural environment. We hope this dire situation will be a wake-up call for world leaders that stronger environmental policy won’t just protect nature, but save human lives too. You can read our recent blog post and watch a video message from our Patron Dr Jane Goodall on this topic below.
The pandemic is affecting all areas of society, including two issues that are core to our work: women's rights and access to sexual and reproductive healthcare. We've compiled some useful links below for those who want to find out more about those impacts.
At the bottom of this page you can also find a short list of suggested actions you can take to help everyone get through these difficult times.
Finally, we hope you are able to take a moment to enjoy nature - even if it's just by looking out the window - as there is nothing quite like it to lower stress levels and feel connection in this time of social distancing!
Enjoy the small things - for me it's the blossoms, courting birds and buzzing bees - and please do take care of yourselves and each other.
Protecting nature protects human lives
In this blog post, we investigate how relentless deforestation, habitat encroachment, wildlife trade, consumption of animals, and increasing urban population density gave rise to pandemics like COVID-19, and why environmental policy over the next few years will have major implications for public health.
"My heart is with all who are sick."
Coronavirus, women's rights and SRHR
The coronavirus outbreak is overwhelming global health services, which means access to unrelated medical care, such as sexual and reproductive health services, is restricted. In addition, as people are forced to stay at home, the incidence of domestic violence increases and it is usually women who have to shoulder most of the extra unpaid care work caused by lockdowns. Here are some resources that shed light on these issues and what must be done to address them:
The COVID-19 Outbreak: Potential Fallout for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights - The Guttmacher Institute, 11 March 2020
Gendered Implications of COVID-19 Outbreaks in Development and Humanitarian Settings - CARE, 16 March 2020
As pandemic rages, women and girls face intensified risks - UNFPA, 19 March 2020
Marie Stopes International's statement on COVID-19: the charity fears coronavirus disruptions could lead to an additional 3 million unintended pregnancies, 2.7 million unsafe abortions and 11,000 pregnancy-related deaths
What can I do to help?
- Help reduce infections by washing your hands frequently and thoroughly, staying at home and following all other official advice from medical professionals and your government.
- Many key service-delivery charities and international organisations have set up coronavirus emergency funds. If you can, please consider supporting their life-saving efforts with a donation.
- You can also directly help the people around you by checking in on your neighbours (from a safe distance!), particularly if they are elderly or otherwise immunocompromised. If they can't leave the house, offer to pick up groceries for them.
- Don't panic-buy! Hoarding items means other people can't get what they need. Stay calm and think of others.
- Make use of technology, such as social media and video calling, to safely socialise and reassure and encourage others.