Cayetano renews call for passage of RH bill

July 11, 2012 9:29 pm 

MANILA, July 11 –- Senator Pia Cayetano renewed on Wednesday the call for the passage of the Reproductive Health (RH) bill in time for the commemoration of the World Population Day themed: “Universal Access to Reproductive Health Services.”

Cayetano said this year’s celebration of World Population Day envisions “a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe, and every young person's potential is fulfilled."

"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 one of the sponsors of the RH bill (No. 2865) in the Senate. The bill is one of the priority measures of the administration of President Benigno S. Aquino III.

She said the situation of mothers in the country has gone from bad to worse with maternal deaths increased from 161 to 221 per 100,000 live births from 2006 to 2011, respectively, based on the latest Family Health Survey (FHS).

”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.

Cayetano is hoping that more of his colleagues in the Senate would support the bill's final passage into law when the 15th Congress opens its third regular session this month.

She stressed that maternal deaths can be prevented under the RH Bill, which seeks to expand access to the following services, especially to those from the poorest households: (1) Natural and artificial family planning services to allow mothers to plan and space their pregnancies; (2) Prenatal care to ensure the mother's health and nutrition, and allow for early detection of complications; (3) Safe and modern birthing facilities manned by health professionals to ensure safe deliveries; and (4) Postpartum services to monitor and address complications after delivery.

Cayetano likewise noted that the findings of the 2011 Family Health Survey (FH) confirm the widely accepted fact that women who have less income and less education are also the least likely to practice modern family planning methods.

"Based on the FHS, prevalence in the use of modern contraceptives is much lower for married women belonging to poor households compared to those belonging to non-poor households," the lady senator related.

Citing figures from the survey, she noted that for women aged 15-49 years old who belong to poor households, only 31.8 percent use any modern method of family planning.

On the other hand, Cayetano said the disparity in the use of contraceptives is more pronounced for married women with little or no education, compared to those with higher levels of education.

Based on the FHS, prevalence in the use of modern contraceptives is much lower among women with no education at only 13.4%, compared to those who finished elementary (32.2%), high school (38.5%) and college (37.1%).

"What these figures prove is that clearly, there's a very huge unmet need for reproductive health services for women in general, but more so, for those who come from the poorest families and those who are less educated." (PNA) LAM/JFM/ssc

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