This is the statement of the Reproductive Health Network (RHAN) for Mother’s Day 2012:
If we truly love our mothers, let us prevent their dying in pregnancy and childbirth Statement of the Reproductive Health Advocacy Network (RHAN) on Mothers’ Day 2012
On Sunday, the whole world celebrates Mothers’ Day in appreciation of the myriad contributions of mothers to families and society. Sadly, some 4,000 families belonging to the poorest and most disadvantaged, will be motherless this year, as thousands like them were the previous years. This sad reality is a testament to the lack of serious attention – beyond the rhetoric – given to government programs and social arrangements that would assure mothers’ surviving the critical act of giving life.
There is no mystery about the fact that pregnancy and childbirth – while not diseases – pose peril to some women, roughly 15% of the annual 3 million or so pregnancies every year. The Filipino adage about a pregnant woman having “one foot in the grave” is intuitively true. Medical studies confirm that life-threatening complications can come unbidden especially during childbirth; potentially fatal complications like hemorrhage, hypertension, severe infection and obstruction. These frightening complications, however, are mostly treatable by simple medical interventions like intravenous fluids and medicines, blood transfusion and surgery.
So how come Filipino mothers continue to die at worrisome levels?
A comparison between the Philippine approaches and successful approaches in neighboring Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia reveal the following critical differences: the lack of adequate and adequately-trained midwives; the lack of adequate and adequately staffed and furnished emergency hospitals that function 24 hours for 7 days; the lack of a strong Family Planning program to reduce unintended pregnancy; and the lack of adequate public financing support for the poor.
All of these gaps require an orchestrated response, especially involving the DOH, local governments, PhilHealth, and private and public health professionals. It is a response that had been engendered in the Reproductive Health Bills which have been stalled in Congress for the past 11 years.
How do we love our mothers?
Indeed many, many ways. A first gift is the gift of life, programs to insure she has the means that will protect her before, during and after the delicate time of pregnancy and childbirth.
Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers out there.