CLARK FREEPORT -- The Department of Health (DOH) shall hold a Universal Health Care (UHC) caravan in select parts of Central Luzon in an effort to reach target population and improve access to relevant health information, services, and commodities.

“The caravan shall include Buntis Parties, where essential pre-natal care services will be rendered to pregnant women and ensure accessibility of ultrasound services,” DOH Regional Local Health Support Division OIC Lailani Mangulabnan said during Thursday’s regional launch of High Impact Five (HIF).

“There shall also be a community forum on child injury prevention as well as Garantisadong Pambata which covers mass deworming and micronutrient and food supplementation,” Mangulabnan added.

Bloodletting activities will also be part of it in order to increase the supply and availability of blood in the service delivery network.

Figures from DOH show that as of 2014, there are 45 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births and six to nine infant deaths per 1,000 live births in Central Luzon.

The deaths of the mothers are due to preventable causes such as eclampsia and obstetric hemorrhage.

“In 2013, obstetric hemorrhage was the second leading cause of maternal mortality in the region. These deaths would have been prevented if there was accessible and adequate supply of safe blood,” Mangulabnan explained.

“As of 2014, there were only 56 percent of newborns screened in Central Luzon which is way beyond the 85 percent national target,” the DOH official disclosed.

Newborn Screening is a simple procedure of collecting blood sample by pricking the sole to find out if the baby has a medical condition that can result in mental retardation or even death if not treated.

Meanwhile, approximately 1,500 children under five years of age die due to under nutrition, vaccine preventable diseases, infections, and injuries.

“HIF is an approach that focuses on five critical UHC interventions with high impact on health, prioritizing the poor, and providing tangible outputs,” DOH Regional Director Leonita Gorgolon said.

It seeks to reduce maternal, infant, and under five mortality; reduce the burden of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS); and establish service delivery networks.

In Central Luzon, priority provinces are Aurora, Pampanga and Zambales.

These were identified as among those vulnerable to shocks and disasters where the marginally non-poor can easily slide to poverty and the poor can slide deeper to poverty. (CLJD-PIA 3)