mortality remains a key challenge for the
A study by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), the State of the World Population 2008, states that 230 women die for every 100,000 live births, compared with 110 in
Causes of maternal deaths are haemorrhage, sepsis, obstructed labour, hypertensive disorders in pregnancy, and complications of unsafe abortion – most of which are preventable with proper diagnosis and intervention, health specialists said.
“The maternal mortality ratio [MMR] in the
“We are not making sufficient progress,” she said.
Crucial to reducing maternal deaths is having a skilled attendant present during a delivery.
“Only 60 percent of the births in the
“The intermediate goal to reach the MDG is to have a skilled attendant present during every birth. Until that happens, we will not be able to reduce the number of maternal deaths in this country,” said Tobin.
Based on results of national health surveys,
“Concerted efforts need to be taken to accelerate and promote cost-effective interventions, such as easy access to emergency obstetric care; increasing the number of births in health facilities; and universal access to reproductive health services, including family planning,” says Plaza.
An estimated 4,500 women die each year due to complications related to child birth
According to the 2006 Family Planning Survey (FPS), only 50.6 percent of women used family planning methods – unchanged in the past six years.
Condoms, the Pill and other contraception are equated with abortion, which is illegal. As a result, contraception is not available in most government and rural health clinics.
House Bill 5043, known as the Reproductive Health Bill, advocates a comprehensive range of programmes and services addressing sexual and reproductive health, including education and universal access to both traditional and modern family planning services.
The bill has been languishing in legislative debates for two decades, preventing women, especially in lower income groups, from obtaining reproductive health information and services.
Specialists say the maternal mortality figures may be scratching the surface as distribution of healthcare among more than 7,000 islands poses a significant challenge.
The wide disparities between urban provinces in Luzon and the underdeveloped provinces in
Data from the 2003 National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) and 2006 FPS shows that in the National Capital Region (including Manila), a reported 90 percent of births are supervised by a skilled birth attendant. In the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), it is 24 percent.
“In some cases, one midwife is assigned to two to three barangays [small administrative divisions], which are separated by vast bodies of water. So many women opt to go to a community-based traditional birth attendant,” said Fatima Pir Allian, a programme manager for Neighbours Population Development Center, Inc, an NGO that works with the UNFPA.
Inaccessibility and lack of personnel are the main factors that contribute to
Three decades of armed conflict has exacerbated the problem of lack of personnel and accessibility, said Allian.
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