(Feature) WomanHealth Philippines to candidates in the coming polls: Include health system in your platforms

January 29, 2016 7:33 am 

By Leilani S. Junio

MANILA, Jan. 25 (PNA) — An advocate group for women's reproductive rights in the country is urging presidential aspirants and other candidates for elective positions in the coming May 9 elections to include "a good health system" in their platform of governance as basis for the people to select them wisely.

“There is a need that candidates, especially presidentiables, shall possess 'awareness and humility' in terms of evaluating and assessing programs that must be given priority,” Commissioner May-I Fabros of WomanHealth Philippines said.

Fabros, who is also a Commissioner of the Philippine Commission for Women (PCW), said it is important that government leaders should put a priority on health programs because a breakdown in health system will have inter-related effects also on other problems of the nation.

As an example, she cited the problem on adolescent pregnancies which she describes as a symptom of a breakdown in health system that should be addressed and included in the health platform of any candidate for the presidency in the coming elections.

“So kung wala ang kalusugan sa plataporma nila at wala silang ganoong kahusay na pag-intindi sa dynamic ng isang geography kagaya ng sa Pilipinas na may 7,100 islands, ibig sabihin mahihirapan silang gumawa ng implementasyon sa anim na taon,” she said.

She said the people should be watchful in examining the qualifications of candidates in terms of their focus on health initiatives because a good health system that will be enjoyed by a nation is an important factor to achieve economic growth.

“That is a concern for me, and I think it should be a concern for all of us, because health is our wealth. Kung walang mahusay na kalusugan, hindi ka makakapagtrabaho nang maayos. Hindi magiging produktibo ang ating bayan,” she explained.

She cited that Vietnam and Thailand focused greatly on the health and education of their people before they pushed for industrialization.

She said it is important that candidates should have the heart and determination to fund programs that will fully promote quality and affordable health care services for the people in every community.

She noted that such can be done by ensuring that there are sufficient funding for healthcare workers who will take care of the people as well as the corresponding health supplies.

With a good health system in place, she said that time will come that the community itself will be “educated” wherein the people will be the ones that will take responsibility in ensuring that their very own health is protected and not placed into risk.

Regarding the problem on teenage pregnancies, she said it is important that teenage mothers are given the needed “proper support and guidance” in accessing the contraceptives they deserve and that should be continuously done and not be denied.

She said that one gap which was identified recently in terms of why some teenage mothers were denied access to certain contraceptives was the perception that there were already “prejudging eyes” thrown at them whenever they attempted to ask for supplies or even be informed about their proper use.

Based on testimonies of some young teenage mothers, they get shy to proceed to the rural health centers for fear of being ridiculed and hearing any negative remarks toward them by other people who do not even try to hear the very reason why the teenage mothers arrive at that situations.

Because of that fear, the helpless mothers sometimes hide or choose to give birth through traditional birth attendants instead of accessing the healthcare services that are available to them.

Some even resort to abortion, while those who have the courage to keep the baby sink further to poverty as they continue to have more children which reduces the chance of young mothers to resume their studies and seek employment later so they can be part of the productive society.

At present, in recognition of that hindering factors, some rural health centers in the country are beginning to make the health centers now “approachable” to young mothers.

Although the Responsible Parenthood Reproductive Health Law implementation is ongoing and giving “contraceptives” to the needy population, it cannot be denied that it was shaken early this year when its budget for family planning commodities was cut down by the Senate-House bicameral conference committee by Php1 billion.

According to the Department of Health (DOH), while it is true that the budget for family health and responsible parenting was cut, the department will continue to procure family planning commodities using the Php337.5 million sourced from the 2015 budget.

The said budget was originally intended to purchase additional blood pressure apparatus for barangay health workers.

Health Secretary Janette L. Garin said the DOH is looking for other sources of funds, which may include agency savings identified and declared at the end of the year, as well as assistance from developmental partners. (PNA)

SCS/LSJ

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