Marcos ill-gotten wealth

50 maternal deaths in January alone
The figure is 'so high,' says the Department of Health

MANILA, Philippines – Fifty mothers died from “maternal complications” in Metro Manila last month, prompting the Department of Health to raise concern.

Dr Eduardo Janairo, DOH director for the National Capital Region (NCR), said this figure is “so high.”

Only 6 maternal deaths were reported by 11 local government units in January 2011.

Majority of the 50 maternal deaths was caused by bleeding, according to Janairo. “This is very alarming,” he added.

Janairo warned that “unskilled or the traditional birth attendants (TBA) is a factor in maternal deaths.”

“It is very important to have a skilled birthing attendant during a delivery because most cases of maternal deaths include hemorrhage or bleeding,” he added.

This could be prevented by strengthening the implementation of the government’s National Voluntary Blood Services and ensuring adequate supply of safe blood in government health facilities, he said.

Maternal mortality refers to deaths caused by pregnancy or childbirth-related complications that occur within 42 days after delivery.

These include bleeding, unsafe abortion, and hypertensive disorders, among others.

Pasig City accounted for 15 deaths; followed by Makati City with 8; Las Piñas with 5; Parañaque and Pasay with 4 each and Navotas and Mandaluyong with 2 each. Other localities have not submitted their reports.

In Metro Manila, TBAs account to around 40% of deliveries. Cities with the most number of TBA deliveries are Malabon (21.7%), Paranaque (16.9%), Muntinlupa and Taguig (16.5% each), Las Pinas (15.1%) and Navotas and Quezon City (10.2% each).

In 2010, eclampsia or convulsions was the leading cause of maternal deaths (43%), followed by hemorrhage (33%), medical complication (17%), and infection (7%).

Janairo said the government will coordinate with barangay officials to implement “intervention programs” at the community level.

“Part of this intervention programs is to identify the hospital or lying-in clinics near the mothers so that when they are about to give birth, their families would know where to bring them. It is important for them to regularly get their pre-natal care,” he said. –

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