Saturday, January 17, 2009


Did you know that 11 mothers die daily from childbirth in the Philippines?
Was it because we Filipinos focused on providing basic health care to children to a fault?
The United States-based independent global humanitarian organization Save the Children ranked us first among 55 developing countries in terms of giving, say, prenatal care, skilled care at childbirth, immunizations, and treatment for diarrhea and pneumonia. They added that “the Philippines is making good progress in improving health care for children and has achieved a 48% reduction in its under-5 death rate since 1990.”
Their Mother's Index, highlighting its State of the World's Mothers 2008 report, put us on top of its basic health care report card.
Because “in terms of newborn mortality rates, the Philippines has one of the lowest in the developing world with an average of 15 out of 1,000 live births.”
Next to us is Peru, followed by South Africa, and then, there is a tie between Indonesia and Turkmenistan.
We are one of the 55 countries accounted for “nearly 60 % of the world’s under-5 population and 83 % of all child deaths worldwide.”However, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, New Zealand and Denmark had a league of their own. They made it to the Top 5 when Save the Children also ranked 146 countries for how good they are for mothers and children.
Though it was shocking to find out that the United States, was a notch lower than its ranking last year, at 27th place, it is not our problem.
Ours is that we got into a negligible spot.
As usual?
What about our Nanays?
According to UNICEF’s latest The State of the World’s Children report, released four days ago: “Women in the world’s least developed countries are 300 times more likely to die in childbirth or from pregnancy-related complications than women in developed countries.”
Moreover, a Filipino baby is almost 14 times more likely to die during the first month of life than his or her counterpart elsewhere in Dildo, for instance, in Newfoundland, Canada.
“Every year, more than half a million women die as a result of pregnancy or childbirth complications, including about 70,000 girls and young women aged 15 to 19,” said Ann M. Veneman, UNICEF Executive Director, at the Johannesburg launch. “Since 1990, complications related to pregnancy and childbirth have killed an estimated 10 million women.”
Are we truly incapable of providing life-saving interventions like post-natal visits, proper hygiene, and counseling about the danger signs of maternal and newborn health?
Ironic for us, indeed, coming from a country of caregivers?
Was it due to the plain and simple fact that we still belong, then as now, to the so-called Third World?
Where having a child remains among the most serious health risks for women?
Where fertility rates are high?
Where there is a shortage of trained personnel and weak health systems spell tragedy for many young women?
Which is why the Philippines is among 68 countries which contribute to 97% of maternal, neonatal, and child health deaths worldwide and about half of the deaths of Filipino children under five happen in the first 28 days of life?
In Making It Safe For Our Mothers Without Delay, Nilo Yacat interviewed Dr. Ruben Flores, whose team works like a 24-hour factory of infants. The said Fabella Memorial Hospital chief sighed: “Too many women are giving birth but what is alarming is that both early and late pregnancies are increasing.”
If even in the City of Man – Manila -- a medical team struggles to attend to an average of 200 deliveries a day, what can we expect from such far-flung areas as Agusan del Sur, where roughly 220 women for every 100,000 live births die every year? Out there in a landlocked province in the Caraga region in Mindanao (whose capital is Prosperidad) -- three out of five women give birth at home and mostly assisted by a traditional birth attendant who may fail to recognize complications of pregnancy and labor.
Everywhere, it is mostly in urban areas where you can find health facilities with quality basic and comprehensive emergency care services for pregnant women.
Researches showed that the lifetime risk of maternal death is 1 in 140.
Meaning, around 11 Filipino mothers die everyday or an estimated 4,500 every year due: obstructed labour (8%); eclampsia or related hypertensive disorders (12 %); unsafe abortion (13 %); infections (15%); and hemorrhage (25%).
Speaking of blood loss, we almost lost our Light, when our panganay was in the delivery room. Our baby was supposed to be named “Parikala” (or “Irony”) but everything changed when her mom, Ina, had a bad bleeding for more than two hours. During that time, she had managed to go back to her childhood (at the wake of her own Nanang when she was 10 years old) as well as to her hometown in Candon (where she saw her Tiang Thelma who just died waiting for her behind a dining table).
While she was floating all over the place without seeing her own body, she constantly recited PSALM 100 in her mind.
When she was about to return to what she recognized as a High Way where she came from, she regained her consciousness.
Right then and there, we decided to baptize our firstborn “Psalma Sigla.”
Inspired by the biblical poetry of gratitude, we eventually called our kids: Wika (or Proverb), Awit (or Song), and then, our first and only prose, Sulat (or Epistle).
Indebted we are to her savior, Dr. Mila Zaragoza-Ibay, who offered her lifesaving emergency obstetric services!
UNICEF, after 11 years, would address those three types of delays that lead to maternal deaths: (a) a delay in the decision to seek medical attention; (b) a delay in reaching a health care facility; (c ) a delay in receiving care once present at the facility.
Thanks, by the way, to our Mama's doctor who helped her in giving birth to her unico hijo!
Exactly 45 years ago today.
A famous German evangelist was invited to speak at a worship assembly.
GERMAN: When you introduce me, please don't mention my positions or titles. Just tell
them that I am a shepherd or something like that.
EMCEE: Brothers and sisters, may I introduce to you our speaker for tonight.
A German shepherd.
One day, the father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the express purpose of showing him how poor people live . They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family . On their return from their trip, the father asked his son “ How was the trip ?” “It was great , Dad.” “Did you see how poor people live ? ' the father asked. “Oh yeah ,” said the son. “So , tell me , what did you learn from the trip ?”asked the father. The son answered : “I saw that we have one dog and they had four . We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end . We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon . We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight . We have servants who serve us, but they serve others . We buy our food , but they grow theirs . We have walls around our property to protect us, they have friends to protect them.” The boy's father was speechless. Then his son added,”Thanks Dad for showing me how poor we are!”

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