PRESS RELEASE: Sixth State of the Philippine Population Report Precious and precarious: The life of Filipino mothers
Maternal mortality has been one of the biggest challenges in the struggle to ensure quality health care for all. No woman should die giving life yet many die not because they could not be saved, but because they did not get the optimum care they needed.
To continue the critical task of reducing maternal mortality, the Commission on Population launches the Sixth State of the Philippine Population Report (SPPR6) with emphasis on the precious and precarious lives of Filipino mothers.
In 2015, the Supreme Court issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) over Implanon and Implanon NXT, a form of subdermal contraceptive which can last for three years. Several prohibitions on the use of modern contraceptives were also seen in some provinces in country, with health service providers living in fear even when the RPRH Law is already the rule. Just when the implementing mechanism for service delivery and demand generation strategies have taken a significant stride, we are now faced with a significant budget cut for the procurement of commodities – an outright denial of women’s reproductive rights by leaving women with no options and means for family planning at all. These placed a detrimental effect on the poorest women who rely heavily on health centers for contraceptives and contributed to the risk of maternal mortality in the country. A woman who is already undernourished may be pregnant for the fifth or sixth time. The baby and the mother are equally at risk of getting complications or worse, dying. There are women who were already advised by doctors that additional pregnancies would surely be precarious to their health but still can not avail family planning services. The consequences of the denial of government-funded RH and Family Planning services in 2016 will be at least an additional 110 maternal deaths that will accompany at least 50,000 unintended pregnancies.
The launch of SPPR 6 to be held in Manila on March 7, 2016 aims to stimulate a more comprehensive discussion and incite necessary and sustainable actions on the issue of maternal mortality. In 2013, World Health Organization reported a maternal mortality ratio (MMR) of 120 per 100,000 live births in the country. These deaths are mainly caused by severe medical conditions which could have been prevented with proper access to health care services. SPPR 6 revealed that this lack of access is highest among women aged 15-19, those with 5 or more children, living in rural areas, those with no education, and those in the poorest economic group. This reflects the world’s inequalities in access to health care services and stresses the huge gap between rich and poor.
SPPR 6 accounted delayed care as one of the causes of maternal mortality which included the delay in deciding to seek health care, delay in reaching the health facility and delay in receiving the needed care.
POPCOM Executive Director Dr. Juan Antonio A. Perez III believes that these delays and the continuous impediment in the implementation of the Law is a disrespect and injustice to the Filipino people. “With this kind of injustice, another year will be lost in our progress to achieving population stability and the long-awaited demographic dividend,” Dr. Perez reiterated.
Dr. Perez stressed that this year, there shouldn’t be delays anymore. “The Commission on Population will optimize its very limited resources to enhance demand for reproductive health services. We will continue our advocacy to LGUs to mobilize them in creating an enabling environment for women, men, and adolescents particularly through provision of services and information especially to the grassroots. In all of this, we will continue to pursue partnerships and collaboration with government agencies, and CSOs including NGOs and the private sector in ensuring reproductive health and rights which remain a critical goal of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” he concluded.
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Family Planning Month is observed annually in August with the aim to increase public’s awareness and access to family planning (FP) services. The Commission on Population Regional Population Office V (RPO-V) joins the nationwide celebration with the theme: “Ang Pamilyang Pilipino: Kapag Planado, Panalo!” The theme highlights the importance of family planning in improving lives by helping couples achieve desired family size.
The Philippine now ranks 12th most populated country in the world after its population reached 100 Million on July 27, 2014. The ballooning figure is not surprising with the country’s unmet need for family planning higher at 19.3% in 2011 compared to 15.4% in 2006. (FHS 2011, 2006) Unmet need is the proportion of women who wants to delay or stop childbirth but are not using any method of contraception.
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