Philippines ranked 105 out of 179th in best and toughest places to be a mom.
Metro Manila was among the top cities in the world to cut child mortality rates among urban poor, according to 2015 State of the World’s Mothers global index published by Save the Children.
The annual global mother’s index report reveals that in the last 20 years, child survival rates among the urban poor in Metro Manila have improved in comparison to other developing countries. Between 1993 and 2008, the child mortality rate went from 81 to 38 deaths per 1,000 lives. Over this period of time, the poorest urban children went from being four times as likely to die to being twice as likely to die compared to their wealthy peers. The capital region has also achieved about 4% reduction in under-5 mortality per year since 1998.
Metro Manila’s success comes from improved quality of services, public-private partnerships, structural reforms, and health care innovations introduced to the local government units and sustained involvement of civil society in maternal and child health care programs.
Despite progress, the global study cited the National Statistics Office (NSO data) which suggests that 1 in 5 infants who died in 2010 were in the capital region. While health facilities and obstetric care are physically more accessible in the capital region, the report revealed that many poor people still could not afford associated health costs.
As progress in child survival continues to be localized and in some areas stalls, Save the Children Philippines is working alongside the government and families to ensure that the good work continues, and children, particularly those in Manila, are given every opportunity to fulfill their potential.
In this year’s country ranking of the State of the World’s Mothers report, which ranks the well-being of mothers and children, Philippines maintains its place from last year at number 105 out of 179 countries, behind Vietnam, Thailand, and Malaysia in South East Asia. The country is just ahead of Timor-Leste and Indonesia.
Ned Olney, Country Director of Save the Children, says:
“The progress we have seen in the past two decades shows that closing the child survival gap between rich and the poor is attainable. But cities need to keep up with the breakneck growth as thousands of mothers and children in cities still have limited access to essential health services, food, and clean water they need to survive and stay healthy. Save the Children is calling for strict implementation of maternal, child, and newborn health care programs, including infant and young child feeding and increased local government investment to trainings for frontline health workers.”
“If Philippines is going to complete the task of ending preventable child and maternal deaths, we have to continue to find better ways of getting health care to urban populations, regardless of income,” he added.
Mini Case Stories of Mothers
Myrna Maningo, 38
Myrna is married to Mario, 38, who works as a jeepney dispatcher for a living. He earns about Php 350 a day. They have a total of 12 children, age ranging from 2-16 years old. Myrna and her family is a beneficiary of 4Ps (PantawidPamilya Pilipino Program), a conditional cash transfer program by the government.
Myrna realized that she needed to use contraception on her 7th child, but her husband won’t allow her. She also has hypertension and couldn’t afford to try any family planning method. They earn just enough to buy food for the family, and the extra support from 4Ps are used to sustain the education of her children.
Elisabeth (Lisa) Galeon, 40
Lisa has 11 children and one of them has a mental condition. She juggles different informal jobs just to meet the needs of her family. Her husband Gil, 55, used to be a bus driver, but now had to stop working because of his heart condition. Lisa and her happy disposition in life enables her to support her family on all of their needs. She sometimes takes laundry or cleaning jobs from her neighbors earning Php 200 a week.
Save the Children supported Lisa’s family through the dental/health kit distribution, urban gardening, reading camps, and sponsorship program.
“The greatest challenge was when my husband and three of my children got sick altogether and I could barely work. I was so worried we won’t have anything to eat, but I’m thankful that my friends helped me survive,” Lisa shared.
Irene Sabado, 37
Irene’s family used to live in a province in the northern part of the Philippines. Her husband, Leonardo, was a farmer. When their children started attending school, it became very difficult as the schools were too far away from where they lived. Despite the uncertainty, they moved to Manila and built a small shelter out of discarded materials. Leonardo found a job in a private residential village as a cleaner. Life in the city has been very difficult. Irene’s family is a beneficiary of 4Ps (PantawidPamilya Pilipino Program), a conditional cash transfer program by the government. Irene’s eldest son, Leonel, has just graduated high school. He wanted to continue pursuing a degree in a university, but the family couldn’t afford it anymore.
Save the Children helped Irene and her family through their Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health Nutrition (MNCHN) intervention.
Save the Children Philippines has launched an emergency appeal for Nepal earthquake that will primarily help mothers and children survive. To donate, please go to www.savethechildren.org.ph/
All images in this post courtesy of Save the Children.
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