Yesterday, various stakeholders from the government, the academe, and the private sector attended the 162 to 52 Summit, which aim to boost multi-sectoral efforts in addressing the maternal and child health challenges of the country.
Everyday, 11 mothers in the Philippines die due to childbirth and pregnancy-related complications. According to the 2010 statistics of the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB), the country loses 162 mothers out of 100,000 live births. Maternal deaths impact infant and child mortality rates as well since children who are left without mothers are three to 10 times more at risk of dying. More than this, the death of mothers affect the psycho-social wellness of orphaned children and widowed husbands, as well as entail losses to the economy.
The state of the Filipino mothers therefore makes the Millennium Development Goal # 5, which for the Philippines is the reduction of maternal deaths from 162 to 52 per 100,000 live births, the least likely to be achieved by 2015. Not meeting this target gives rise to the possibility that progress made on the other MDGs will be reversed--particularly on ending poverty and hunger, and reducing infant and child mortality. (Click here to view the NSCB MDG Watch.)
The 162 to 52 goal therefore calls for drastic measures. The complexity of the factors causing maternal deaths means that solutions lie not only on the hands of medical professionals. We need political leaders who will drive change, businesses that will target their corporate social responsibility on women and mothers, and civil society organizations who will sustain such efforts and bring them down to the grassroots.
Hence, the summit launched the 162 to 52 Coalition as a means of bringing together the country's key sectors to focus efforts on accelerating developments in maternal and child health. Aside from the good line up of speakers in the summit, which included the current and past secretaries of the Department of Health; governors and mayors; business leaders; and international agency representatives, the summit held an exhibit which featured priority areas for maternal health programs as well as the modes of public-private partnerships (PPPs) that may be undertaken by the attendees.
The summit is just a step, albeit a commendable one, towards the reduction and ultimately, the elimination, of maternal deaths in the Philippines. The real journey begins on a bumpy road.
Click here to join the Coalition.
For more info, contact the Zuellig Family Foundation via the following telephone numbers +63 (2) 821-4332, 821-4428, 8213329 .
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Let me end this post with this simple yet inspiring and creatively-rendered video shared by Ms. Ugochi Daniels, Country Representative of the United Nations Population Fund.