Editorial: Maternal health-A A +A
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
THE National Statistics Office (NSO) will be releasing its 2011 Family Health Survey and it bears bad news.
Maternal mortality rate went up to 221 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2010, from 162 deaths in 2006. Yes, that bad, especially because the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) of the Philippines is to reduce maternal death to 54 by 2015, that’s three years from now.
In a report in Philippine Star, it quoted NSO Director Socorro Abejo as stressing that the figures may not be that accurate since the survey was based on a seven-year estimate involving 53,000 women of reproductive age.
“For us, the figure merely indicates that the situation did not really change from a rough estimate of 200 maternal mortality rate in 1993 up to the present,” Abejo was quoted as saying.
No wonder that Health Secretary Enrique Ona is alarmed.
For maternal death rates to have stayed the same throughout the whole period when everything must have been done to reduce these by 2015 as set out by the MDGs shows the lack of concern government has for what is considered as one of the indicators of a country’s over-all health.
Shocking, indeed, but we shouldn’t be surprised. Our legislators and elected officials have for so long hee-ed and haw-ed over the Reproductive Health Bill, choosing to succumb to the pressures of bishops and lobbyists against such program.
The eight MDG are: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, achieve universal primary education, promote gender equality and empower women, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, combat HIV/Aids and other diseases, ensure environmental sustainability, develop a global partnership for development.
How can we eradicate extreme poverty and hunger when nothing is being done to reduce maternal deaths. How much more difficult would it be for young children to tackle their school work without their mothers, how can women be empowered if death stalks them once they are of reproductive age, and how can we even imagine to combat HIV/Aids, ensure environmental sustainability, and develop global partnership for development when we cannot even attend to our pregnant mothers?
We just can’t help but wonder why there are still those who continue to believe they are serving their God and the people by continuously blocking the passage of a law for reproductive health without even feeling guilt for the mothers who continue to die while giving birth.
Abejo summed it all up in that statement she was quoted as saying, “For us the figure merely indicates that the situation did not really change from a rough estimate of 200 maternal mortality rate in 1993 up to the present.” From year 1993 to present is 20 years of doing nothing to save mothers.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on June 20, 2012.