Cebu News

DOH: Difficult to lower maternal mortality rates

The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - The Department of Health admitted that Central Visayas is unlikely to reach the Millennium Development Goal (MDGs) of reducing its maternal mortality to 52 from 162 per 100,000 mothers by the end of the year.

DOH has identified at least three contributing factors – delay in reaching appropriate centers, delay in providing health, and delay in seeking medical help.

“Maglisod gyud ta ana og achieve dili ra sa Region 7 but the entire country,” said Dr. Jovette Guinal, maternal health program coordinator of DOH.

EngenderHealth Philippines also said implementation of family planning and massive maternal and child care in the region are still unmet.

According to the health organization, these contributed to the ballooning number of maternal deaths here.

EngenderHealth’s work in the Philippines focused on the “PRISM project,” funded by USAID, which strengthened maternal and child health care services, including expanded access to family planning, as well as post-abortion care.

But, Guinal said, the 52 target could still be achieved with the intensified DOH High 5 program

“We are still hoping that we will meet the target this December,” she said.

Doctor Dino Caing, medical officer of DOH-7, isalso optimistic that a decrease of at least 32 percent or 52 deaths from last year’s 162 per 100,000 mothers dying while giving birth will be met.

He said 70 percent of mothers giving birth die due to hemorrhage or severe blood loss. About 25 percent of the incident happened in the hospital, 20 percent at home, and 15 percent along the way to birthing centers or hospitals.

He said the decrease is feasible if all LGUs and the public will participate towards reducing maternal mortality region-wide.

Asturias Mayor Alan Adlawan said maternal care in the town was improved through different interventions, such as the passage of facility-based delivery and skilled birth attendants ordinance; pregnancy tracking system; information education campaign; and promoting pre-natal.

This, he said resulted a “zero mortality rate” in Asturias last year based on its Health Statistics data presented during the recent League of Mayors in the Philippines (LMP) Cebu chapter’s meeting.

Caing also said maternal mortality could be achieved by establishing blood collecting units both in north and south areas of Cebu pro-vince. The provision mandates LGUs to collect units of blood at least one percent of their total population.

On its website, the World Health Organizationsaid skilled care before, during and after childbirth can save the lives of women and newborn babies and lessens the number of maternal mortality.

According to the WHO approximately 800 women die every day from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth, including severe bleeding (mostly bleeding after childbirth); infections (usually after childbirth); high blood pressure during pregnancy (pre-eclampsia and eclampsia); complications from delivery; and unsafe abortion.

Maternal mortality is higher in women living in rural areas and among poorer communities.

Young adolescents face a higher risk of complications and death as a result of pregnancy than older women.

The risk of maternal mortality is highest for adolescent girls under 15 years old and complications in pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death among adolescent girls in developing countries, where 99-percent of all maternal deaths occur.

Under MDG, countries committed to reducing maternal mortality by three quarters between 1990 and 2015. Since 1990, maternal deaths worldwide have dropped by 45 percent.

In line with this, the EngenderHealth has encouraged local government units to fully enforce Republic Act No. 10354 or “The Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012” (RPRH Act) to lessen maternal deaths. — Kristine B. Quintas/JMO (FREEMAN)



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