Action & Event-ure:
Improve maternal health. This is MDG No. 5, the next in the "I Vote for MDG" series. Broadway actress and Philippine pride Lea Salonga advocates the promotion of Millennium Development Goal No. 5 so that no more mother will die while giving life (para wala nang babaeng mamamatay, habang nagbibigay ng buhay).
Lea Salonga on MDG No. 5
MDG No. 5 targets to reduce by three quarters, between 1990 and 2015, the maternal mortality ratio. By 2015, MDG No. 5 aims to achieve universal access to reproductive health.
I think the signs are clear. You know there are candidates who believe and support MDG No. 5, despite the objections of the influential blocks of our society, to ensure the delivery of maternal health services to Filipino women. And you also know that there are those who do otherwise, to ensure their votes, and consequently their political triumph by May 2010. But you know better. You know who to vote for.
Out of three (3) million pregnancies that occur every year, half were unplanned and one-third of these end in abortions, according to a 2006 report of the Allan Guttmacher Institute conducted in the Philippines. Induced abortion was the fourth leading cause of maternal deaths. Young women accounted for 17 percent of induced abortions. Over half of births occurred at home and one-third of them were assisted by traditional birth attendants (TBAs). Around 75 percent of the poorest quintile did not have access to skilled birth attendants (SBAs) compared to only 20 percent of the richest quintile. There is, therefore, a need to improve prenatal and postnatal services and special competencies of SBAs to reduce neonatal mortality.
Universal access to sexual and reproductive health education, information, and services improves health, saves lives and reduces poverty. The slow decline in MMR may be traced to inadequate access to integrated reproductive health services by women, including poor adolescents and men.
The country’s total fertility rate (TFR) based on the 2006 FPS was 3.2 births per woman. This is a slight decline from the 2003 TFR of 3.5 children per woman. Among the regions, Region 4-B posted the highest TFR (4.1), while NCR, the lowest.
On the contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR), the percentage of currently married women
ages 15-49 years using contraceptives slightly changed from 49 percent in 2001 to 50.6 percent in 2006 based on the FPS for the same years. Among the regions, Central Luzon had the highest CPR at 58.9 percent, followed by Cagayan Valley (58.6%) and Southern Mindanao (57.2%). The lowest CPR was in ARMM (20%).
The unmet need for family planning was 15.7 percent in 2006, representing a decline from the 1998 figure of 19.8 percent. The ARMM showed the highest unmet need (29.7%) while Cagayan Valley, the lowest at 9.7 percent.
These trends indicate the need to actively promote family planning and responsible parenthood most especially, for low-income households. Without access to FP techniques, the actual number of children of poor families generally exceeds desired family size.
Survey findings, however, revealed that Filipino women across all socio-economic classes desire fewer children and would like to use modern contraceptives. Yet only about half of women of reproductive age practice family planning (FP). Even when FP services are available, it has been observed that the decision to seek health services is often determined by gender norms in the family and community, as well as cultural and religious beliefs and practices.
Concerning the young, data from the Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Survey (YAFSS) for the period 1994-2002 indicated that the overall prevalence of pre-marital sexual activity increased from 18 percent to 23 percent. It is likewise observed that twice as many females than males experienced reproductive health (RH) problems. The higher levels of RH problems observed in females can be attributed to their higher experience of less serious RH problems. It is however noted that there was an increase in serious RH problems among females as compared to males due to the increasing proportion of females engaging in sexual risk behaviors and the low level of contraceptive use. The 2006 FPS results also showed that 6.3 percent of women 15-19 years old had begun childbearing and majority of them were poor and from the rural areas. Other studies show that teenage pregnancies accounted for 17 percent of induced abortion cases.