Is the Philippines an ideal country for mothers?
Save the Children recently released its 16th annual Mothers' Index which rates 179 countries based on maternal mortality rate, education, income levels and more. Click here to see how the Philippines ranked.
For a country that’s been dubbed “The next Asian Tiger economy,” it is alarming to know that the country’s supposed financial status does not reflect the well-being of its citizens – specifically women. According to a 2014 survey, almost half of the country’s population is made up of females (49.6%) with 221 women dying every year per every 100,000 births.
Unlike neighboring Southeast Asian countries such as Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and Sri Lanka – all of which have drastically decreased their maternal mortality rate – the Philippines continues to suffer high numbers with hypertension (27%), hemorrhage (18%) and unsafe abortion (11%) as the three major causes of maternal mortality.
The Philippines, like its neighbors, could also decrease the number of maternal deaths if only more funds were allotted to providing women across the nation adequate medical care such as skilled birth attendants, emergency obstetric care (EmOC) and access to family planning services.
However, until this is properly addressed and resolved, an unnecessarily high number of Filipino women will continue to be at risk of maternal mortality, thus keeping the Philippines low in rankings as one of the best Asian countries for mothers.
In fact, according to the State of the World’s Mothers 2015 report by Save the Children, the Philippines ranked 105 out of 179 countries, while neighboring Southeast Asian countries such as Singapore (14), Malaysia (71), Thailand (83) and Vietnam (98) made the top 100.
The report offers a glimmer of hope, though, as it notes that “the Philippines has made strides in addressing health care for poor families, with 68% of mothers among the poorest 20% having a skilled attendant at birth (compared to 95% for the richest 20%). Sixty-eight percent of the poorest 20% are also able to avail of at least four visits for prenatal care compared to 93% among the richest 20%.”
It also mentions that “the under-5 mortality rate among the urban poor in Metro Manila has been steadily declining, with 81 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1993 going down to 38 in 2008. Among 1,000 live births in general, the under-5 mortality rate overall is 22.”
Should the Philippines continue with the progress that it’s been slowly but surely making, the country could very well soon join the ranks of the top Asian countries best for mothers – based on the Save the Children’s 2015 report:
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