New Bill To Fight Philippine Maternal Deaths
Health & Medicine
July 24, 2011
Filipino politicians hope that the new Responsible Parenthood-Reproductive Health bill will address the high number of maternal deaths in the Philippines.
AsianScientist (Jul. 24, 2011) – The Philippine maternal death rate of 162 per 100,000 live births is the highest in the Southeast Asian region.
These figures were revealed by ACT Partylist Congressman Antonio L. Tinio at Friday’s press conference in Puerto Princesa City. He introduced the Responsible Parenthood-Reproductive Health (RP-RH) Bill or House Bill No. 4244 which he hopes will pass in the House of Representatives in September this year.
Congressman Tinio said that RP-RH bill will address this problem because one of its guiding principles is to ensure maternal health, safe delivery of healthy children, and their full human development through effective reproductive health care.
“The bill is not a population control bill but a bill that recognizes the rights and the needs of women and men as well,” Tinio said.
He added that the issue on maternal deaths would require a comprehensive approach, not just from the medical aspect, but also from the social aspect such as responsible parenting, knowledge on sexuality, and values formation.
AGHAM Partylist Congressman Angelo Palmones, also one of the panelists, said that maternal death is preventable through education and use of technology. The two Congressmen were joined by Dr. Peter Curameng, DOH Provincial Team Leader, and Dr. Louie Ocampo, representing the Provincial Health Office.
According to the 2007 UN Development Program (UNDP) Philippines Mid-Term Progress Report on the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), the number of maternal deaths per 100,000 live births has declined from 209 deaths in 1993, to 172 deaths in 1998, and an estimated 162 deaths in 2007.
The Philippines’ goals are to reduce the maternal mortality ratio by three-quarters between 1990 and 2015. However, based on this slow rate, it is unlikely the MDG 2015 target of a maternal mortality ratio of 52 per 100,000 live births will be met on current trends.
The UNICEF website states that most maternal deaths are avoidable. The key to avoiding them is better health care – particularly during pregnancy, delivery, and post-partum period, it says.
“Interventions that improve maternal health include: antenatal care, provider-initiated HIV testing and counseling, skilled attendance at birth (such as midwives), emergency obstetric care, post-partum care and family planning in keeping with national policies,” the UNICEF website states.