RH law to reduce maternal mortality

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The increasing maternal mortality rate (MMR) in the Philippines would be reduced through the Reproductive Health (RH) law, according to the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS).

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“I think the critical part here would be the RH law. The key element in any maternal mortality program is RH and family planning, [and]if that gets approved and there’s a large government program, then we can expect better [maternal services],” PIDS senior health consultant Oscar Picazo said.

Irma Asuncion, director of the Department of Health-National Center for Disease Prevention and Control, hopes to reduce maternal deaths from 221 to 52 for every 1,000 live births.

“There are a lot of investments and trainings for all the health workers down to the level of the facility, RHU, birthing facility, all the equipment, not only the skills and competence, to provide the service to mothers,” Asuncion said.

Picazo added that these concerns should be addressed since the health sector has the highest increase in the proposed 2014 national budget.

The Philippines ranks the highest in Southeast Asia in terms of maternal mortality rate, high pregnancy rate among the poor and teenagers (5.2 percent) and hospitals’ inability to accommodate the burgeoning population (1:960 hospital bed to population ratio).

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