Big day for women’s health

More than 3,000 advocates of the Reproductive Health (RH) bill are set to gather today, May 29, at the SB Park Batasan Hills, Quezon City for the “Pag-aaruga sa Kababaihan, Tungo sa Malusog na Kinabukasan” grand rally. The event is in celebration of the May 28 International Day of Action for Women’s Health.

The National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC), Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) and the non-government organization Likhaan Center for Women’s Health lead the event.

NAPC Secretary Joel Rocamora and PCW Chairperson Remedios Ignacio-Rikken are among those who will speak to reiterate the importance of the RH bill in promoting women’s health and safe motherhood.

Also joining the program are top officials from the Department of Health (DOH), Presidential Commission on the Urban Poor (PCUP), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Quezon City government and community leaders of Barangays Batasan, Commonwealth and Payatas in Quezon City.

The 2008 National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) revealed that 56 percent of birth deliveries occurred at home; 27 percent in public health facilities; and 18 percent in private health facilities. On birth deliveries, 36 percent were attended by hilots (traditional birth attendants); 35 percent by medical doctors; and 26 percent by midwives.

Moreover, the 2003 National Nutrition Survey showed that 26.6 percent of pregnant women and 11.7 percent lactating women are underweight. Anemia remains a health problem among pregnant and lactating women at 43.9 percent and 42.2 percent, respectively.

Once legislated, the Reproductive Health (RH) bill will (1) ensure allocation of funds for safe motherhood, child health and nutrition, (2) intensify education campaigns on reproductive health and rights, and (3) deploy more midwives, nurses and doctors.

The International Day of Action on Women’s Health, celebrated every 28th of May and first observed in 1987, allows the world to focus its attention on women’s health needs as requisites for sustainable human development.