Mom’s health is wealth

Lead agency for women reiterates call for the passage of the Reproductive Health Bil

“A healthy mom makes a happy family,” Remedios Ignacio –Rikken, Chairperson of the Philippine Commission on Women under the Office of the President,  states when asked what she wants to emphasize as the world celebrates Mother’s Day on Sunday.

“If the family is the basic unit of society and our goal is to build a healthy and wealthy nation, we should ensure that mothers should have the capacity to plan and decide the number and spacing of their children, have access to free or affordable maternal, newborn and child health and nutrition services, and opportunities are available for women’s socio-economic well-being,” Rikken enthuses. 

“We are all entitled to our diverse beliefs and that should be respected,” PCW Executive Director Emmeline L. Verzosa clarifies, “but a mother’s health is a concern closely tied to reproductive health.”Verzosa believes that the RH Bill when passed will address pressing social concerns such as teenage pregnancies and maternal deaths.  It will mandate the provision of age-appropriate education on responsible human sexuality so that young people become aware of the big consequences of actions they take out of ignorance of reproductive functions, curiosity, or experimentation.

The bill also includes men’s responsibility in reproductive health and access to prenatal services and safe birthing facilities. Other reproductive health services include prevention and management of reproductive tract infections, including HIV and AIDS; prevention and management of cancers of the reproductive system; prevention of abortion and management of pregnancy-related complications; and, infertility problems.

The 2008 National Demographic & Health Survey (NDHS) revealed that half of married women age 15-49 do not use any form of contraception. From the other half, 34 percent use modern methods such as pills, ligation, IUD and injectibles; 16.7 percent use traditional methods such as withdrawal and rhythm.  From the modern method users, 51.1 percent derive services from the private sector and 46.2 percent from the public sector.

In 2006, the Department of Health reported a maternal mortality rate of 162 per 100,000 live births due to childbirth complications such as hypertension, hemorrhage, sepsis and other causes. The country’s commitment under the Millennium Development Goals is to reduce maternal mortality by three quarters, or 52 per 100,000 live births, by the year 2015.PCW believes in the “potential of the RH Bill in ensuring both the health of the Filipino woman and her family. Congress has to pass the Reproductive Health bill now,” Verzosa concludes.