This week it was announced if the funding continues at the current level the programme to eradicate malaria infection of humans could be successful by 2050, writes climate change campaigner Laurel Spooner.

I have seen toddlers die of malaria infecting their brains, a heartbreaking sight.

So I phoned up an old doctor friend to celebrate the latest news.

I was shocked when a gloomy voice said: “That will make the world’s overpopulation and global warming even worse and is just what we don’t need.”

Gazette: Dr Laurel SpoonerDr Laurel Spooner

What a contrast to how he had reacted in 1976 at medical school when we were told of the last known case of smallpox in the world - a three-year-old girl who had died in a house in Bangladesh surrounded by guards.

I was saddened that he felt so pessimistic and was quite honestly talking such nonsense.

Fewer children dying means fewer children need to be born, and parents are quick to realise this when they see it.

But until effective healthcare services are available so that children do survive the poorest people in the world cannot be expected to believe it.

I believe all health services for the relevant age group should include free contraception at every encounter, and I mean every contact made with a patient or the relative of a patient.

Literacy rates have risen dramatically so leaflets are now much more effective but we also have the option of videos in waiting areas and public places thanks to technological advances, which I saw for myself meant villagers in remote Kashmir could enjoy Bollywood movies on the TV in the village hall.

Teaching boys in school about responsible parenthood is just as important as teaching girls.

It is a joint responsibility: women push the babies out but men push them in.

Female literacy rates are rising fast across the world and if girls finish their education and start earning they have far fewer children, often just one or two - or none.

Their contribution as wage earners is appreciated by their husbands and the ambition of nearly all families is to afford to educate their children, so it makes sense to provide easy access to universal contraception and it will improve everyone’s standard of living.

This is the key to controlling population, global warming, and environmental degradation - no-one should or needs to wish for plague and pestilence, war and famine.

So you and I can make a vast difference by sponsoring family planning organisations working in poor countries and by insisting that other types of organisation we may want to fund always work in conjunction with a provider of contraception.

So if you are sponsoring a schoolchild, ask about sex education for the pupils and about family planning clinics for parents and tell your friends to do this to.

Make it a criterion you always ask about before pledging your funds.

The unborn carbon footprint is the best carbon offset of all.