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Maternal mortality ratio in PH declining — DOH

The maternal mortality ratio in the Philippines has been declining over the years, according to the Department of Health (DOH) on Friday.

Dr. Diego Danila Jr., of the DOH Disease Prevention and Control Bureau, Child, Adolescent, and Maternal Health Division, said maternal mortality globally is also on a downward trend based on the data collected by the Word Health Organization, UNICEF, United Nations Population Fund, World Bank Group, and the United Nations Population Division.

“Bumababa rin po tayo. Ang ating maternal mortality ratio since 2000 nagstart ng 161, mataas. Pero kung makikita pre-pandemic 2016 to 2017 naging 121,” Danila said at the DOH Kapihan Forum.

(It was also declining in our country. Our maternal mortality ratio since 2000 started at 161, it was high. But if you can see pre-pandemic 2016 to 2017, it went down to 121.)

Danila said the country's public survey system every year also showed that the maternal mortality ratio in the country has been declining.

He, however, said that it has been declining “slowly.”

“But medyo mabagal ang rate niya nang pagbaba, hindi ganoon kabilis sa gusto nating pinapangarap natin but we are happy enough that something is happening na bumababa siya 2% per year but still we need pababain pa ng konti,” he said.

(But the rate of decrease is a bit slow, it's not as fast as we would have wanted it to be but we are happy enough that something is happening, that it is going down 2% per year but still we need to lower it a little bit more.)

The DOH official said the maternal health services during COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns have also been affected.

Based on the data of the Philippine Statistics Authority in 2020, among the leading causes of mortality among pregnant women were hypertensive disorders with 31.1%, abnormalities of forces of labor with 8.7%, puerperium infections with 8.7%, postpartum hemorrhage with 8.6%, other maternal diseases with 7.7%, maternal infectious and parasitic diseases with 5.3%, obstetric embolism with 3.9%, and ectopic pregnancy with 3.6%.

Danila then encouraged pregnant women to get regular health checkups and consult their doctors to prevent such illnesses.

Dr. Faye Cagayan of the Philippine Obstetrical and Gynecological Society also emphasized the importance of prenatal checkups, saying that healthcare workers should also explain the process to pregnant mothers.

“Ang prenatal ngayon via remote na lang, it's just a matter of being aware. Alam naman ng mga pasyente na ‘Doc, ito po ang nararamdaman ko,’ alam nila they will know. Napakahalaga na maipaliwanag din ng mga midwives, nurses, healthcare workers kung ano ang ineexpect ng nanay at kung ano ang warning signals,” Cagayan said.

(Prenatal checkups are now via remote, it's just a matter of being aware. Patients know how they feel, they say 'Doc, this is what I feel,' they know their  body. It is very important for midwives, nurses, healthcare workers to explain to the mothers what they should expect and what the warning signals are.)

“Pregnant women should listen to their body and should listen to their baby,” Danila said.

He also recommended women to have lifestyle checkup even before getting pregnant.

Cagayan echoed the recommendation, saying that health checkups before going to motherhood is important.

“Para mapangalagaan ang ating pagbubuntis, ang ating baby, even before getting pregnant, have yourselves checked. Para po tayong mga atleta, hindi 'yung pagka nag-racing na saka lang magte-train,” she said.

(To take care of our pregnancy and our baby even before getting pregnant, have yourselves checked. We are like athletes, we should train first before joining the race.)

“Tinetrain po natin 'yung katawan natin magkaroon ng magandang outcome para makapagready na tayo sumali sa race of motherhood, safe po tayo at safe rin po ang ating baby,” Cagayan said.

(We are training our body to have a good outcome so that we can be ready to join the race of motherhood, so that we are safe and our baby is also safe.)—AOL, GMA Integrated News