Pia: High maternal deaths underscore urgency on RH bill passage

CITING high maternal deaths in the country , Senator Pia S. Cayetano reiterated her call for the immediate passage of the Reproductive Health Bill  and said “the life of every mother should count and matter.”

“The country’s high Maternal Mortality rate (MMR) as shown in the findings of the 2011 Family Health Survey once more underscores the urgency to pass the RH Bill,” said Cayetano, principal sponsor of Senate Bill 2865, the Senate’s version of the measure.

“During the past decade that the bill has been stalled in Congress, our MMR has not declined. In fact it has increased to 221 deaths per 100,000 live births from 162 deaths from the period 2000-2005,”she added.

The lady senator also noted that the latest figures are way off the country’s target to reduce MMR to 52 by the year 2015 under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

“Although we use statistics to track our progress, let’s remember that every mother who died has a face, a name and a child. Every mother matters. Every life counts,” stressed the senator, who chairs the Senate Committees on Health and Demography, and on Youth, Women and Family Relations.

Cayetano has just returned to the country on Tuesday from Washington DC where she attended the Child Survival Call to Action conference, along with about 700 leaders from different countries. The conference stressed how intrinsically related maternal health is to child survival, she noted.

“Facts don’t lie and it would be sheer hypocrisy not to acknowledge the grim situation faced by Filipino mothers.”

Cayetano acknowledged that the President’s endorsement would give momentum to the bill’s passage. “I hope the President will reiterate his support for the RH Bill in his coming State of the Nation Address (SONA) to ensure its passage by August after Congress resumes session.”

The RH Bill has already hurdled the period of debates in the Senate and will proceed to the period of amendment at the resumption of session. At the House of Representatives, the measure is still in the period of interpellation.


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