Decrease in ARMM maternal deaths needed in to meet MDG

Apr. 15, 2009

DAVAO CITY — The number of mothers who die in childbirth has to go down in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) if the Philippines is to meet the Millenium Development Goal (MDG).

ARMM has been coined as the worst place to be a mother, where 162 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births have been recorded by the Save the Children Philippines (STCP). The group says this number needs to decrease by at least 5 by 2015.

In a press conference, the group recently presented The State of Filipino Mothers 2008 Report, where it was seen that the ARMM does not receive adequate health services.

Edwin A. Ylagan, Health Manager of the organization, said that mothers in ARMM areas Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-tawi are particularly known for relying on local midwives for childbirth, and the security situation, which makes the provision of services more difficult.

Ylagan issued a challenge to the Department of Health (DOH) and local government units (LGUs), saying that the causes of maternal deaths in these areas are usually preventable and treatable complications of pregnancy and childbirth.

STCP also identified other areas where conditions are bad for mothers. These are Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan (MIMAROPA), Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula and South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat,

Sarangani and General Santos City (Socsksargen).

STCP found that maternal deaths are highest at the poorest, most disadvantaged places, and asserts that the quality of children’s lives is greatly influenced by the health, social, educational, economic, and over-all well-being of mothers.

Meanwhile, Davao ranked fifth best place to be a mother, with the National Region, Central Luzon, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon (Calabarzon), and the Cordillera Administrative Region (Car) respectively ranking 1 to 4.

STCP’s research was conducted with the Department of Health (DOH), the Commission on Population, and the University of the Philippines Population Institute. The Mindanao Development Council (Medco) was also present during the press conference, where they also presented how the conditions of mothers, or of women in general, especially in

the ARMM, can be improved. (PIA)

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