NCRFW celebrates Mothers’ Day with appeal for safe motherhood

10 May 2009, MANILA — The National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women (NCRFW), the Philippines’ machinery for women’s advancement, appeals to government leaders to ensure safe motherhood for all women noting that 162 out of 100,000 Filipino women die during pregnancy and childbirth.

“As we honor mothers today, let us make the health of women a top priority and commit the necessary resources to save women’s lives. There is a slight decline in the current maternal mortality ratio, but it is still far from the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target for 2015 of reducing deaths to 53,” NCRFW Chair Myrna T. Yao said.

While motherhood is a fulfilling experience, many pregnant women in the Philippines still suffer from pregnancy-related illness and even death. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the major direct causes of maternal morbidity and mortality include hemorrhage, infection, high blood pressure, unsafe abortion and obstructed labor.

Chair Yao added that the Philippine government, together with non-government organizations, private sectors and civil society should take a concerted effort to promote cost-effective interventions that will minimize maternal mortality. Interventions according to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in its 2008 State of the World Population Report are important to include “easy access to emergency obstetric care, increasing the number of births in health facilities, and universal access to reproductive health services, including family planning.”

“We should go beyond sending cards and giving gifts to our mothers on Mothers’ Day. Instead, we should commit to saving women’s lives. If all pregnant women have access to emergency obstetric care, this will ultimately reduce maternal mortality rates in the country,” Chair Yao added.

The NCRFW believes that mothers have the right to be physically, psychologically and socially healthy. As the nation observes Mothers’ Day celebration today, the NCRFW opines that women’s access to health services is vital in the country’s progress and that government should make women’s health a top priority.

“No woman should die due to pregnancy and its other related complications. In our society, the mothers are the primary caregiver of children. A mother’s death is more than a family tragedy -it costs social and economic investment for the community and nation as well. Pregnant women should have access to affordable health services throughout their pregnancy and childbirth,” Chair Yao emphasized.