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Health of Filipino mothers, not worse but not better either

Health of Filipino mothers, not worse but not better either
Philippine Government urged to invest more in healthcare workers
Manila, Philippines (May 7, 2011)—Filipino mothers’ lives are not getting sufficiently better even if conditions in the country may have improved, Save the Children’s latest State of the World’s Mothers report finds. The Philippines ranked 49th among 79 less developed countries in the Mothers’ Index lagging behind its Asian neighbors China, Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia. Save the Children’s Mothers’ Index compares the well-being of mothers and children in 164 countries.
In the Philippines, one in 320 females aged 15 will die due to preventable complications of pregnancy and child birth; this has improved from one in 140 in 2005. Filipino women’s life expectancy is now 75 years, which is also an improvement from 74 in 2009. However, only six out of 10 births are assisted by a doctor, midwife or a nurse, and only four out of 10 Filipino women are able to use modern contraception.

“The situation for mothers, especially those living in poor and marginalized communities in the Philippines, is extremely difficult,” says Save the Children’s Country Director Steve Ashby, “But solutions do exist. Women, trained as midwives or community health workers, can support women during pregnancy and birth, help prevent common health problems and keep children alive. Save the Children is supporting the work of midwives and community health workers in indigenous, urban and rural poor communities in the Philippines.”

With four years left, the Philippines may be unlikely to achieve the Millennium Development target of reducing maternal deaths by 75 percent given the current rate. The country has managed to bring down the ratio of maternal deaths to 162 for every 100,000 live births from 209 in 2000 when the UN Millennium Declaration was signed.

For every 1,000 live births, 33 Filipino newborn babies and young children die before their 5th birthday. Most of these deaths occur in areas where basic health care is often unavailable, too far away, or of very low quality. These deaths could be prevented if skilled and well-equipped health workers are available.

Health workers can provide a solution for mothers and children in the Philippines. With the right support and equipment, health workers can save the lives of many mothers and children. Yet 50 percent of poor children in the Philippines do not get healthcare when they need it.

In the Philippines, Save the Children urges the government to put more investment in the training, equitable deployment and support of health workers, so that more Filipino mothers and children have access to comprehensive, cost-effective and life-saving services.

To commemorate Mother’s Day, Save the Children published its twelfth annual State of the World’s Mothers report. The report can be downloaded from

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