221 mothers die while giving birth in PH

Poverty and the absence of a Reproductive Health (RH) law are behind the death of 221 women out of the 100,000 Filipinas who give birth in the country, according the Human Development and Poverty Reduction (HDPR) Cabinet Cluster

MANILA, Philippines – Poverty and the absence of a Reproductive Health (RH) law were tagged as major reasons behind the death of 221 women out of the 100,000 Filipinas who give birth in the country.

In a statement, the Human Development and Poverty Reduction (HDPR) Cabinet Cluster said this is the country’s worst Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) to date and thus, calls for the passage of the Reproductive Health (RH) bill.

“The Human Development Cluster is deeply concerned with the long-term implications the absence of such a bill would have on poverty and development in this country,” the HDPR said.

“We now have the worst poverty situation in the entire ASEAN 4 region and, with one of the highest birth rates in Southeast Asia, the dubious distinction of being the 12th most populous country in the world,” it added.

Unwanted pregnancies

The HDPR also said that 44% of pregnancies among the poorest Filipinos are unwanted.

It said the bill could give mothers, particularly those who are among the poorest 10% of Filipinos, a choice on the number of children they can have.

“Our concern should be for the poor, whose voices have remained unheard and whose interests remain unprotected even now,” it added.

Citing the 2006 Family Planning Survey, the HDPR said 22% of women belonging to the poorest 10% of the population want to avoid pregnancies but do not use family planning.

It added that at least 41% of these women do not use any contraceptives at all. This has caused the birth rate of the poorest 20% of the population to roughly be double that of the national average.

Data from the National Statistics Office (NSO) showed that the country’s crude birth rate (CBR) for 2007 was 19.7 per 1,000 population. The CBR for males was 20.4, higher than the female CBR of only 19.

“Notably, there is a divide between the effects on the highest and lowest classes, as poor women, compared to their wealthier counterparts, tend to have the shortest birth intervals,” HDPR said. – Rappler.com