THE Talisay City Council has approved an ordinance setting guidelines for the use of the City’s birthing centers to prevent the deaths of women undergoing prenatal, delivery and postnatal treatment.

The ordinance also provided for specific charges for a patient who will avail herself of the birthing center’s services.

The Provincial Board’s committee on ways and means, headed by PB Member Thadeo Ouano, was given the ordinance to review.

The ordinance, drafted by Councilor Richard Francis Aznar, head of the City Council committee on health, provides that only skilled birth attendants—a licensed physician, nurse or a midwife—can perform prenatal and postnatal services.

“All childbirths shall only be done in hospitals, birthing centers or barangay health centers/lying-in centers where highly trained health-care professionals could handle the delivery better,” part of the ordinance read.

The measure said that the role of traditional birth attendants, locally known as hilots, should be limited to “supportive care and services during prenatal, perinatal and postpartum of mothers.”

What they can do

Among the functions and duties of traditional birth attendants are: to assist in the formulation of birth plans for pregnant mothers, guide all pregnant women to Rural Health Units, act as companions in the birthing centers during labor and delivery of the mother, and assist mothers to initiate breastfeeding within 30 minutes to an hour after the delivery.

For a pregnant mother to avail herself of the services of the City’s birthing centers, she will have to pay P1,500 if she lives in Talisay and P3,500 if she is a non-resident. A standard fee of P600 will be charged for newborn screening, regardless of residency.

Philhealth members should submit the requirements to avail themselves of the free services. Indigent patients need a referral letter from the City Social Welfare and Development Office after complying with the requirements.

A part of the income of the City’s birthing centers will then be placed under the City Government’s general fund, for the operation of Talisay’s birthing centers. All the operating and maintenance costs of the City’s birthing centers will be charged to that account.