Will Climate Change Have More Complex Effects on Sexual and Reproductive Health?
The Zika viral epidemic represents a perfect storm of climate change, disease, sexuality and reproductive health. In 2009, I was deeply interested in the effects of climate change worldwide. I work for a regional organisation and I was studying trends which I thought would impact women’s health and rights.
Disasters – both natural and climate change induced were one of these trends. Three key events stood out in my memory; the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the 2008 Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar and the 2010 Pakistan floods. These incidents affected the partners we work with on the ground, and many had rushed in to deliver aid. A number of partners talked about the need of access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services, occurrences of sexual violence, and of course the need for camps to be set up in a manner that suited the needs and realities of women. One of the activists in my circle told me that after the tsunami, women who had tubal ligation in Tamil Nadu, had fought for and won the right to reverse tubal ligation, because they had lost their children in the tsunami. I was often on the lookout for such interesting angles to sexual and reproductive issues during the times of disaster.