As pandemic rages, groups also want focus on women’s health
MANILA, Philippines – Women’s health remains an important issue despite all of the advances that the country has made to improve gender equality, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said on Thursday.
According to CHR’s statement on the International Day of Action for Women’s Health, the issue plays a vital role in nation-building, as the country’s future generation is taken care of by women.
“Ang kalusugan ng mga babae ay mahalagang aspeto sa pag-unlad ng pamilya, komunidad, at bansa. Manindigan tayo para sa karapatan at dignidad ng mga babae na siyang kumakalinga at nagtataguyod sa bagong henerasyon ng ating lipunan,” CHR said in a tweet.
(The health of women is an important aspect in the progress of a family, of a community, and of the country. Let us stand firm for the rights and dignity of women who nurture and raise the next generation of our society.)
“Kinikilala natin ang mga hakbang na tumitiyak para makamit ang kabuuang kalusugan ng kababaihan kabilang ang mental, reproductive, at maternal, and child health,” they added. “Subalit marami pa ring banta sa kalusugan ng mga babae kabilang ang physical, sexual, at emotional violence.”
(We know that there are steps to ensure that the health of women, including their mental, reproductive, maternal, and child health are attained. But there are still several threats to women’s health, including physical, sexual, and emotional violence.)
Previously, groups like the Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNNR) called on the government to ensure that the health concerns of women are still being attended to, even as the world’s attention has shifted to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The issues were borne from reports that a woman from Caloocan City died after giving birth because six hospitals refused to treat her — with one private hospital supposedly asking for a downpayment worth P30,000 before being admitted.
Last April 27, expectant mother Katherine Bulatao chose to give birth at their house with the help of a midwife instead of doing so in a hospital to avoid contracting COVID-19.
But after her baby was born, the midwife told her relatives to bring her to a hospital because she was bleeding. However, small hospitals urged her to be transferred to a larger hospital.
Aside from this, WGNNR cited other reports of women being denied access to hospital.
“The refusal to administer emergency reproductive health care to women […] violates their fundamental rights guaranteed under our Constitution and a myriad of our laws including the Anti-Hospital Deposit Law, Magna Carta of Women, and the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act,” Asia Legal Adviser of the Center for Reproductive Rights Jihan Jacob said last May 14.
“It also violates the government’s international human rights obligations to guarantee women’s rights to life, health, and equality and nondiscrimination, The current pandemic and resource constraints do not justify these refusals,” she added.
As of now, health authorities said there are now 15,588 COVID-19 patients in the country due to 539 new cases, which is the highest increase recorded since the coronavirus reached the Philippines.
At least 921 of the patients have died while 3,598 have recovered.
Worldwide, there are now 5.705 million cases, with 355,934 people dead and 2.360 million patients-recoveries.
CHR hopes that their calls would translate to a comprehensive and gender-sensitive provision of health services, even at a time of a global pandemic.
“Sa pagtalima sa araw na ito, nananawagan ang Komisyon sa patuloy na pagsulong ng komprehensibo, inklusibo, at gender-sensitive na serbisyo at programang pangkalusugan para sa lahat ng kababaihan,” CHR noted.
(In accordance to this day, the Commission is calling for a continuous push for comprehensive, inclusive, and gender-sensitive services and programs for the health of all women.)
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