How Saving Lives Actually Helps the Overpopulation Problem

There is growing concern in the west that saving lives in developing countries like Iraq will contribute to overpopulation.

Have you heard this?

I’ve never been confronted with this in light of our work with Iraqi children, but it exists and is a very real concern for many. Peeling back the oniony layers of this concern would, most likely, make us cry. Xenophobia, Islamophobia, and a general sense that haves will someday have not seems to be at play for some, but much of it is a less nefarious, understandable concern for environmental sustainability.

But I have some good news for those concerns: when parents are confident their children will survive, they have fewer children.

If you don’t believe me, I’d recommend you check out the above video by data whiz, Hans Rosling (and then watch everything else he’s done).

For a more in-depth look at this, take a minute to read Bill and Melinda Gates’ excellent article, 3 Myths About the Poor (scroll down to the 3rd myth).

Again, I’m grateful that you and the rest of the Coalition have done nothing but support medical development here in Iraq. You have now provided countless hours of hands-on training and 730+ children with their shot at a lifesaving heart surgery—it’s incredible!

But for the random passer-by who encounters our work and may have overpopulation concerns, know that by developing Iraq’s medical infrastructure, you are giving moms and dads assurance that they don’t have to have ten children in hopes that three will survive, because things here are improving.

Doctors and nurses are growing in their ability to care for children born with heart defects, and that gives parents what they need: the peace-of-mind that their children will outlive them.