PCW Statement on the 2015 International Day of Action for Women’s Health

The Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) strongly believes that holistic, comprehensive and gender-responsive healthcare services for women and girls can only be achieved through the collaboration of public and private health service providers in the country.

As the Commission calls the state-run health sector agencies to improve their programs and expand their reach in addressing the unmet needs of women especially in far-flung areas, we also appeal to private health service providers to uphold women’s right to health as provided for in Section 20 of the Magna Carta of Women (MCW) Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) and the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act.

Women face health risks all throughout their life cycle – at birth, childhood, adolescence, reproductive age, elderly age, among others — and the way to avoid these risks is to provide women and girls with adequate awareness and information and   access to affordable, quality health services. . Women of all ages who seek health services should be treated in a humane, compassionate and non-judgmental manner.

We therefore, ask the health sector agencies, including our public hospitals to utilize their Gender and Development (GAD) Budget for programs and services to implement the Health Section of the MCW. These agencies should prioritize in the GAD initiatives, programs that improve women’s access to health information and services including, but not limited to complete maternal care; promotion of breastfeeding; proper nutrition for pregnant and lactating women; family planning information, services and commodities; prevention and management of gynecological conditions and disorders, including infertility and sexual dysfunctions; sexuality education especially for adolescents; care for elderly women; management of mental health problems; and maintenance and operations of Women and Children Protection Units (WCPUs) to cater to violence against women and children survivors in hospitals.

We also encourage private hospitals to integrate gender sensitivity in their policies to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women and girls.

Efforts in health promotion and communication of both public and private health providers should be strengthened and sustained. We call on the health sector agencies and local government units to intensify public information campaigns on the availability and procedures for availing health services or packages.

Lastly, we enjoin all Juanas to live a healthy lifestyle. Make a choice and let them hear your voice. Demand and compel the government to uphold your rights, particularly on your right to health, and do not let another May 28 just pass without benefiting from it.

May we all have a meaningful International Day of Action for Women’s Health, as we continue to respect, protect, and fulfill women’s right to health, dignity, and bodily integrity.