Philippines urged to step up efforts vs child deaths

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Monday, August 18, 2014


WITH only 500 days before the deadline for the Millennium Development Goal (MDG), an international non-government organization (NGO) is strongly urging the Philippine government to step up its efforts to address preventable child deaths.

In a statement, Save the Children said there is already a need for the Philippines to escalate efforts to reduce child deaths in the country as mandated by the MDG target of 20 deaths per 1,000 live births.

“It is not impossible to reach the MDG target on child deaths but the country needs to urgently invest in lifesaving neonatal interventions,” said Save the Children.

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To do so, Save the Children said there is a need for the government to fast-track the Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) guidelines and Policy on Integrated Management of Moderate Acute Malnutrition (MAM) and Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM), for both development and humanitarian settings.

It added that there is a need to increase local government unit (LGU) investments for health to trainings, improvement of health facilities and increase the number of health work front liners and human resources directly involved in the implementation and monitoring of policies related to newborn and child survival.

Also, Save the Children said it is necessary to include the coverage for premature births in the national health insurance program, as well as enforce the Mother and Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative (MBFHI) in all hospitals with maternity services.

If not, the group said it believes that the country is just bound to fail in meeting the MDG target.

“About 500 days until the MDGs reach their conclusion and the Philippines looks set to miss the target for reducing preventable child deaths,” said the NGO.

At present, the country has 22 deaths per 1,000 live births, according to the Department of Health.

Save the Children, however, admitted that the present data is already an improvement from 60 deaths per 1,000 in 1990. (HDT/Sunnex)

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