LEGAZPI CITY, Nov. 21 (PNA) —- The head of the Population Commission (PopCom) in Bicol is seeking support anew from health workers, policy planners and pregnant women themselves to help reduce the rising cases of maternal deaths in the region.
"Under the government's new ‘Sustainable Development Goals’ or SDG program, we are targeting to lower maternal mortality to 52 deaths per 100,000 live births," PopCom Bicol Director Magdalena Abellera said in an interview.
SDGs, otherwise known as the “Global Goals,” are universal calls to action to promote development that are being implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in 170 countries.
Abellera said maternal mortality, which was recorded at 99 per 100,000 live births in the Bicol region in 2010, increased to 221 per 100,000 in 2011.
She said the main causes of maternal deaths are complications that arise during pregnancy, in the course of labor, delivery and post delivery, and abortion.
Records showed that young mothers, aged 19 years old and below, who constitute a big number of the pregnant women in Bicol, contribute to the maternal death cases.
"The reproductive age of female persons is from 15 years old to 49 years old but nowadays there have been cases of a 9-year-old and a 10-year-old (in Bicol) who got pregnant," she said.
Abellera said these young mothers are not mature enough and prone to danger because their bodies are not yet ready to get pregnant.
She noted the thinning of the uterus of the young mothers after four deliveries that could create complications and lead to their deaths.
“The families of these young mothers have big roles to play so they can get education about safe pregnancy and delivery of the babies,” said Abellera.
She said the government has been “strongly discouraging” the mothers from delivering inside their houses with the "hilot" (village healers) as birth attendants.
“It is highly recommended to give birth in private or government hospitals,” said Abellera.
She added it is very for important for pregnant mothers to visit health workers or doctors regularly for prenatal check up to ensure their good health and that of their babies.
During a regional congress on adolescent health and environment held November 18 in Daraga, Albay, Rosalinda Marcelino, former PopCom executive deputy director, stressed the importance of encouraging the participation of everyone in pushing the government’s new SDG program.
The 17 goals under the new SDG program, which came into effect in January 2016, guides UNDP policy and funding for the next 15 years. UNDP provides support to governments to integrate the SDGs into their national development plans and policies.
“The new SDG program tackles the environment and how it contributes to the health and resources of the population,” said Marcelino.
Agnes Espinas, director of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) in Bicol, said government agencies nowadays are giving importance to policies in relation to population, health and environment.
"The population is increasing so we have to utilize our resources to cope with the needS of the population,” she said.
Dave Plopino, nurse 5 of the Department of Health in Bicol, added that the environment should be “livable” since a polluted environment, whether through water or air pollution, contributes to sickness among pregnant women. (PNA) LAP/JORGE HALLARE/SSC