On Mother’s Day, UN calls for inclusive maternal healthcare in PH

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 14) — As the country honors mothers on Sunday, an agency of the United Nations (UN) in the Philippines called for accessible and affordable healthcare for mothers to stop maternal deaths.

“This Mother’s Day, let us uphold the right of all people — especially mothers — to reach the highest possible standard of health,” Leila Joudane, country representative of UN Population Fund (UNFPA) Philippines, said in a statement.

“Timely health care for pregnant women can make the difference between life and death. No woman should die giving life,” she added.

Citing data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, UNFPA said the country logged 1,458 deaths due to maternal causes in 2019, which almost doubled in 2021 with 2,478 deaths.

The record also showed that one out of 10 women do not give birth in health facilities nor receive professional help during childbirth, while 14% of pregnant women do not get regular check-ups nor sufficient medical care.

Unavailable, inaccessible, unaffordable, and poor quality of sexual and reproductive health services were some of the causes of maternal deaths, Joudane noted.

“Human resources are also scarce. There are not enough trained healthcare workers that provide quality sexual and reproductive health information and services,” she said.

The UNFPA said it supports the country’s agenda of providing Filipinos universal health coverage and universal access to sexual and reproductive health through public health programs, human resources for health deployment program and health facilities enhancement program.

Included in the Philippine’s sustainable development goal in good health and well-being is to reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live births by 2030.