Philippines – Global partners move to reduce maternal, neonatal deaths
Manila (18 September) — The Department of Health (DOH) today announced that the three United Nations (UN) agencies – the United Nations Population Fund, United Nations Children’s Fund, and the World Health Organization have joined forces and resources to undertake a joint program on rapidly reducing maternal and neonatal deaths in the country and meet the Millennium Development Goals.”This is a very welcome development and I am very glad that the Philippines will benefit from this multi-UN agencies collaborative effort”, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said.
The Philippines is among the countries which contribute to the high percentage of maternal and neonatal deaths worldwide. According to the 2006 Family Planning Survey, the maternal mortality ratio was pegged at 162 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births.
“This joint undertaking focuses on accelerating our efforts to attain the targets of MDG #5, which is the reduction of maternal mortality ratio by 75% and the universal access to reproductive health services by 2015, and MDG #4 which is the reduction of the neonatal mortality rate”, Duque declared adding that this initiative will also attain the results desired by the National Maternal, Neonatal, Child Health & Nutrition strategy.
The health chief also said that, with the new project, people can expect better health services as each UN agency will be able to assist the government by pooling procurement, sharing costs in service delivery, common equipment, training of healthworkers, and monitoring and evaluation.
The new project, with the support of the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) is divided into two significant phases: the Transition period (2009-2011) which will cover the provinces of Eastern Samar, Ifugao, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, North Cotabato, and Saranggani, and the urban poor areas in Tacloban, General Santos, Taguig, Navotas, Parañaque and Makati; and the Full Operationalization Period covering the years 2011-2016.
To seal the partnerships of the three UN agencies, the DOH, and AusAID, a document was signed by the heads of the respective agencies.