UN: Philippines maternal deaths on the rise

Pia Lee-Brago - The Philippine Star
UN: Philippines maternal deaths on the rise
This February 2021 photo shows a pregnant woman.
AFP / John Moore

MANILA, Philippines — The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) called yesterday for accessible and adequate health care as maternal deaths in the Philippines have increased in recent years.

UNFPA Philippines said 14 percent of pregnant women in the country do not get regular check-ups and the other necessary medical care needed during pregnancy.

In a statement on Mother’s Day, Dr. Leila Saiji Joudane, country representative of UNFPA Philippines, said the UN agency saw an increase of maternal deaths during the past two years.

In 2019, 1,458 women died of maternal causes. The number of maternal deaths increased to 2,478 in 2021.

“That is around six to seven Filipino women dying daily due to childbirth. During emergencies, when access to maternal health services is disrupted, more women die during pregnancy and childbirth,” Joudane said.

One in 10 women do not give birth in health facilities or receive assistance from skilled health care personnel during childbirth.

The top five causes of maternal deaths include complications in pregnancy, childbirth and puerperium, eclampsia, pre-eclampsia and hemorrhage.

“Many of these deaths are preventable if only there were accessible proper medical interventions and adequate health care systems that are also resilient to emergencies,” Joudane said.

The UN agency also noted that the high cost of health care makes it more inaccessible to poor Filipinos.

A UNFPA study conducted with Burnet Institute showed that globally, every dollar invested on family planning services gains $8.

“But for the Philippines, the gains are even higher at $18. This is on top of the hundreds of thousands of mothers’ and children’s lives saved,” Joudane said.

Joudane stressed that preventable maternal mortality, the denial of rights or demographic change can all be addressed by making the world a more gender-equal place.

The UNFPA supports the Philippines’ commitment to achieving universal health coverage and universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reducing to zero preventable maternal death.

“This Mother’s Day, let us uphold the right of all people – especially mothers – to reach the highest possible standard of health. Timely health care for pregnant women can make the difference between life and death. No woman should die giving life,” Joudane said.

vuukle comment



  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with