Press Release
October 2, 2012

Legarda Pushes for Greater Protection for Newborns
as 9M Children Die Every Year

Senator Loren Legarda today stressed the need to provide greater protection for newborns, stressing that nine million children worldwide die every year before they reach the age of five.

In her speech at the 10th Newborn Screening Convention, Legarda, said that while under-five mortality rate in the Philippines has declined by 60% in the past 16 years from 80 deaths in 1990, to 32 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2006, the government needs all the help and support it can get to save Filipino children from unnecessary death, especially with only three years left until the deadline to meet the Millennium Development Goals that include reducing child mortality to 26.7 deaths per 1,000 live births by 2015 .

"I believe that the target for the 2015 Millennium Development Goals is within arm's reach for as long as we develop a concerted front against premature deaths brought about by lack of information or apathy," she pointed out.

"Our children and the children of the next generation need not suffer from severe mental retardation, cataract, anemia, kernicterus, and even death when they could lead normal lives," she added.

The Senator lauded the Newborn Screening Society of the Philippines for unceasingly supporting the government in its healthcare agenda and providing an opportunity among advocates and practitioners to discuss ways by which the nation can further the cause of children's health.

Legarda also welcomed the 26.4 percent increase in Newborn Screening coverage as noted in a report conducted by the University of the Philippines, the National Institutes of Health, and the Newborn Screening Reference Center. But she stressed that the government can still do better by bridging the communication gap and expanding screening for Filipino newborns.

"We have a chance to change the course of history and touch the lives of millions of Filipino. With a united front against child mortality, I am confident that we will succeed in giving these children a chance to live. There is no greater weapon, than a nation united by a common goal," Legarda concluded.

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