Maternal Death Rate at an All-time High in the Philippines
According to a 2009 State of the World’s Children report from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Philippines is among the countries with the highest incidences of maternal and children’s deaths around the world.
Some 4,500 pregnant women (an estimated 162 maternal deaths in every 100,000 live births) die each year due to childbirth complications such as hypertension, hemorrhage, and sepsis, among others.
Insufficient information on pregnancy care and the inaccessibility of health services, especially in the rural areas, were indicated as factors. Experts believe as well that pregnant women’s reliance on childbirth attendants such as the hilot and the comadrona (midwife) also contribute to the rate of maternal and infant deaths.
While the government has put health reforms in place and continues to campaign for better health facilities to help address the lack of awareness with regard to maternal care and health services, they are still way below their targets on maternal mortality rates. The UN Millenium Development Goal aims to reduce these to 75 percent by 2015.
Family members, particularly daughters carry the burden in the case of a mother passing away due to childbirth, since their education is usually put on hold to look after the younger siblings. Losing the privilege to proper schooling exacerbates poverty and maternal death rates.
Mentioned in a UNICEF report: “If a girl is educated six years or more, as an adult her prenatal care, postnatal care and childbirth survival rates will dramatically and consistently improve."
Sources: • July 14, 2011. Claire Delfin. “Maternal deaths put heavier toll on daughters” GMANews.tv • March 3, 2011. “Top 10 Causes of Death in The Philippines” healthmad.com