Pia Cayetano: Stop maternal deaths, pass the RH billBy Kate Evangelista
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Pia Cayetano on Wednesday renewed her call for the passing of the Reproductive Health Bill in time with the commemoration of World Population Day.
“On World Population Day, let’s prioritize the plight and burden of Filipino mothers. They are the ones who risk their life to bear new life, carry the primary burden of ensuring the health, education and welfare of their children, and balance the family’s meager resources to survive from day-to-day,” said Cayetano.
Cayetano is chairperson of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, and sponsor of Senate Bill No. 2865 which is the Senate’s version of the RH Bill.
World Population Day is celebrated annually on July 11 and this year’s theme is “a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe, and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.”
Cayetano, quoting the 2011 Family Health Survey, said that in the Philippines, maternal deaths have increased from 162 to 221 per 100,000 live births from 2006 to 2011.
“There clearly is an urgent material need for an RH Law, but its hard-line critics refuse to see the reality. They refuse to lift a finger to help alleviate the condition of Filipino mothers despite the alarming rise in maternal deaths. It’s high time we end this vicious cycle where mothers are callously denied access to reproductive health services, which is their right and need. It’s high time to pass the RH Bill.”
She said that maternal deaths can be prevented under the RH Bill which seeks to improve access to health services like natural and artificial family planning method, prenatal care, safe and better birthing facilities and postpartum health care for both mother and child.
“This should be reason compelling enough for any fair-minded legislator to support the enactment of the RH Bill, which would allow mothers universal access to reproductive health services of the government,” Cayetano said.
She again expressed confidence that the RH Bill will be passed soon after Congress resumes its session on July 23.