MANILA, Philippines?The Philippines will meet its Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
This was the statement made by Health Secretary Enrique Ona at the opening of the Women Deliver Philippines Conference at the Crowne Plaza Hotel last week.
?The most problematic provisions of the Millennium Development Goals?infant and neonatal mortality reduction (MDG4) and maternal mortality reduction (MDG5)?will be met by the Philippines despite statistics saying that the country will fall shorthanded,? Ona said.
The MDGs are time-bound development goals set by governments of 188 member countries during the 2000 Millennium Declaration. These goals, globally accepted as the means to curb poverty, hunger and alleviate education and health, will be evaluated in 2015.
The three-day Women Deliver Conference focused on MDG4 and MDG5 with hopes of finding ways to reduce their number. From 1990 to 2008, mortality of infants and children under five years old was significantly reduced by more than half and the Philippines is on track of meeting MDG 4 by 2015, Ona added.
However, of all the MDGs, the reduction of maternal mortality (MDG 5) by three-fourths and providing universal access to reproductive health has made the least progress in the Philippines.
In 1990, the maternal mortality rate of the Philippines was 209 deaths per 100,000 live births which translated to the target 52 deaths per 100,000 live births by 2015. However, recent studies show that the maternal mortality rate of the country is still at 162 deaths per 100,000 which is still thrice the target figure, and there are only 5 years left. The country?s maternal mortality rate is still one of the highest in Asia.
In his speech, Ambassador Alistair MacDonald, head of the European Union delegation to the Philippines, said ?5,000 women die each year giving birth and as this day ends, 11 women will have needlessly died and on this same day some 42 children will have become orphaned?when 90 percent of all maternal deaths could have been averted, with proper care, and proper services.?
?The whole Department of Health under the Universal Health Care Agenda of the Aquino government is under marching orders to provide universal access to reproductive health to meet the Millennium Development Goals,? said Ona.
Ona said that in 2009, 400 infrastructures and medical facilities were upgraded nationwide, including in the ARMM region where the highest numbers of maternal and newborn deaths are
Ona said that despite budget constraints, local agencies?particularly the Department of Health (DoH), Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Education, National Commission on Indigenous People, Commission on Human Rights?are integrating development plans to address the encompassing issues related to MDG5.
MacDonald said that EU?s support to the Philippines has been focused on poverty reduction and improvement of the health status of the local population, in partnership with the DoH. Grants now total P2.7 billion on on-going programs.
?Starting this year until 2013, another P4.7 billion will be granted by the European Union for further projects and developments in support of the Philippines Health Sector Reform Agenda,? he added.