WITH barely 500 days left until the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) reach their conclusion, the Philippines looks set to miss on one of its most significant objectives—reducing preventable child deaths.
The 2015 MDG 4 target for the Philippines is 20 deaths per 1,000 live births. Babies born to the poorest and hardest to reach groups are most at risk of dying a few days after birth.
The Millennium Development Goals is a program under the United Nations that seeks to reverse the grinding poverty, hunger and disease affecting billions of people in many poor countries, including the Philippines.
Save the Children’s global study on newborn deaths revealed that the Philippines is one of the top 10 countries in the world with the greatest gap in equality for newborn deaths between poorest and wealthiest, and between rural and urban households.
Extreme natural disasters are also likely to contribute to deaths among newborn babies due to collapse of health systems and unhygienic conditions in the aftermath of an emergency.
Save the Children urged the Philippine government to address inequality in newborn deaths and its underlying causes.
The 2013 National Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) review indicates that out of the 1,798 hospitals with maternity services, only 24 percent had been certified as complying with the Mother Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (MBFHI).
According to Dr. Amado Parawan, health and nutrition adviser of Save the Children, “life is at its most fragile in the first few days after birth. Newborns require healthcare, and life-saving interventions before during and after emergencies.”
“It is not impossible to reach the MDG target on child deaths but the country needs to urgently invest in life-saving neonatal interventions and prepare the health system to provide care during disasters,” Parawan said.