Press Release
March 9, 2010

"Women should not die during childbirth"

Speaking before women's groups on the celebration of the International Women's Day, NP-NPC-LDP Vice-Presidential candidate Loren Legarda today emphasized the need for accessible maternal and child care, alarmed at the high rate of maternal deaths in the country.

"In this day and age, it is plain injustice that women still die during childbirth. Women's health should be part of the next administration's priorities," said Loren, the only woman vying for the VP seat.

Some 230 Filipino women die for every 100,000 live births, compared with 110 in Thailand, 62 in Malaysia and 14 in Singapore, according to United Nations figures.

Loren, who chairs the Senate Committee on Health, cited starting steps to improve health systems in the country, which includes encouraging more people in the academe and medical practice in the Philippines, improving compensation for practitioners, providing advance studies, collaborating with best practices abroad, investing in infrastructure and more importantly ensuring equal access to health care.

According to the Department of Health (DOH) 6 out of every 10 women still deliver at home because they don't have access to quality obstetric services when unexpected complications arise, and to quality health care during pregnancy and childbirth remains unmet.

Common causes of maternal deaths are hemorrhage, sepsis, obstructed labor, hypertensive disorders in pregnancy, and complications of unsafe abortion - most of which are preventable with proper diagnosis and intervention, health specialists said.

Further the Lady Senator concluded that, "There must be priority for the needs of the underprivileged, sick, elderly, disabled women and children [inhealth development] -- AND it is the duty of the family to take care of the elderly members while the state may design programs of social security for them."

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