Maternal mortality rates in Davao City still a concern

THERE IS a need to reach out to many pregnant women to equip them with knowledge to prevent complications.

That’s the message of the series of health events held throughout the city this month to celebrate National Buntis Day.

Councilor Mary Joselle Dilig-Villafuerte, who heads the committee on health, said maternal deaths are still rampant so they need to focus more on maternal health and give special attention to pregnant women.

“Here in Davao we need to continue to inform pregnant women how to avoid complications of pregnancy and delivery,” she said. “In 2013 we had 68 out of 100,000 deliveries who died, while in 2016 we had 49 of 100,000. We are working to further decrease this.”

Villafuerte on Thursday mounted the 5th Buntis Congress for Calinan and Baguio districts in the Calinan gymnasium. It gathered over a hundred pregnant women from 18 barangays in the area.

The event was supported by a private partner, the local government, the Department of Health in the region (who provided 500 bottles of ferrous sulfate + folic acid), and the Philippine OB Gyne Society through Dr. Gina Alvarez.

“We need to remind pregnant women that they should have at least three to four pre natal check-ups, and most of all, to deliver their baby in a DOH/City Health/PhilHealth accredited lying in clinic or hospital,” Villafuerte said.

During the event, there were free ultrasound and other prenatal checkups for pregnant women as well as hemoglobin checks. There were also discussions on pregnancy and breastfeeding by an obstetrician and a PhilHealth personnel.

Earlier this month, another event by the Philippine OB Gyne Society also held a local event of the National Buntis Day 2017. The event was simultaneous to similar celebrations nationwide.

The event, mounted in Toril and in Agdao, also offered similar services.

According to the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, in the Philippines, the lifetime risk of maternal death is 1 in 140.

Around 11 Filipino mothers die daily (or an estimated 4,500 every year) due to severe hemorrhage, hypertensive disorders, sepsis and problems related to obstructed labor and abortion. The country is among 68 countries which contribute to 97% of maternal, neonatal and child health deaths worldwide. About half of the deaths of Filipino children under five happen in the first 28 days of life.

“A huge effort is needed to improve public reproductive and maternal health services and educate mothers, that is why UNICEF seeks involvement through partnering with government and non-government actors, as well as other UN agencies in building capacities and upgrading facilities to serve pregnant women and newborn babies,” Vanessa Tobin, Unicef Representative said about the Millenium Development Goal 5 (improve maternal health) in a blog entry.

Maternal health refers to the health of women during pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period. While motherhood is often a positive and fulfilling experience, for too many women it is associated with suffering, ill-health and even death.

The major direct causes of maternal morbidity and mortality include hemorrhage, infection, high blood pressure, unsafe abortion, and obstructed labour.

According to WHO data, approximately 830 women die daily from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. About 99% of all maternal deaths occur in developing countries. Maternal mortality is also higher in women living in rural areas and among poorer communities.

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