NCRFW joins nationwide fight to end poverty

The National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women (NCRFW), the government’s machinery for women’s advancement, joins the entire nation in the week-long commemoration of the government’s fight against poverty.

Spearheaded by the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) in partnership with the United Nations, this year’s campaign “Stand Up Take Action Against Poverty and for the Millennium Development Goals” centers in promoting maternal health and education among Filipino youth.

The campaign coincides with the annual observance of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty and the White Band Day of the Global Call To Action Against Poverty.

With the Philippine campaign’s focus on “Mag-ina’y Sagipin, Bata’y Pag-Aralin,” the government is seriously doing its efforts to achieve the MDGs by 2015 which include the eradication of extreme poverty, achieving universal primary education, promotion of gender equality and women’s empowerment, reduction of child mortality, improve maternal health, combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, ensure environmental sustainability and development of a global partnership for development.

NCRFW Chair Myrna T. Yao said the maternal mortality rate can be greatly reduced if a woman is healthy and well nourished before becoming pregnant, if she undergoes regular medical checkup by a trained health worker during her pregnancy, and if a skilled birth attendant assists in childbirth. Women, she added, should also be checked during the 12 hours after delivery until six weeks after giving birth.

“It is the responsibility of the government to make prenatal and postnatal services available to women, to train health workers to assist at birth and to provide special care and referral services for women who have serious problems during pregnancy and childbirth,” she emphasized.

In a bid to remind government about its commitment to achieve the MDGs, the NAPC, United Nations and various groups from the marginalized sectors will mobilize at least 15 million Filipinos from 17-19 October, 2008 through the “Stand Up, Take Action Against Poverty” campaign to urge leaders to step up efforts towards alleviating poverty and meeting the MDGs.

The campaign is part of this year’s global mobilization efforts to urge people to stand up and literally take action in addressing poverty and the MDGs.

According to NAPC, more than 4,000 Filipino women die during pregnancy every year, or an average of 11 women daily. Poor women likewise lack access to reproductive health services, resulting in half a million abortions every year.

The Family Planning Survey (FPS) conducted by the National Statistics Office in 2006 revealed that for every 100,000 live births in the Philippines, 162 women die during pregnancy and childbirth or shortly after childbirth. Moreover, 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.