Canada is funding four new maternity plus clinics in the Philippines to reduce deaths during child birth.
The initiative is funded under the “Innovations in Reducing Maternal Mortality in the Philippines” project.
The project has the financial support of Global Affairs Canada (GAC) and the Canadian non-profit organization, Inter Pares
According to a report by the Philippine News Agency, the maternity plus clinic offers skilled birth attendance (SBA) by trained nurses and midwives, referral and transport to hospitals for emergency obstetric and newborn care (EmONC), and family planning (FP) services that include the full range of methods.
Skilled birth attendance, access to EmONC and FP are the triad of services that are known to rapidly reduce maternal and infant mortality.
These services are critical in the Philippines where maternal deaths continue to be high (221 deaths/100,000 live births — according to the Family Health Survey of 2011, the Philippine News Agency reported.
Family planning alone can reduce at least one-third of the deaths; and SBA and EmONC, the rest.
The women who have the highest risk of dying from the complications of pregnancy and childbirth are those without access to maternity plus services.
These include poor women whether in urban or rural areas, women with little education, adolescent girls, women belonging to ethnic groups, and women with mental health problems and other disability.
Canadian Ambassador to the Philippines John T. Holmes was scheduled to lead the inauguration of the first of four maternity plus clinics in Tondo, Manila on March 27.
Three other clinics are set to open later this year. These are in Navotas; Towerville, Bulacan; and Quinapondan, Eastern Samar — areas where there are concentration of poor women to whom the project’s offering of “Safe, Responsive and Respectful Maternity Plus Care” services is dedicated.
The Philippine News Agency reported that the project will also tap PhilHealth benefits for maternity and newborn care and family planning for financial support.
Joining Holmes at the inauguration program are former Department of Health secretaries Esperanza Cabral and Janette Garin, Rita Morbia and David Bruer of Inter Pares, Jordan Wiley of Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), Fabella Memorial Hospital Director Esmeraldo Ilem, DOH Director Joyce Ducusin, Barangay 13 Chairman Mario Dantes Macapagal and several other local officials.
Currently, Morbia of the Inter Pares nonprofit has program responsibilities in the Philippines and Sudan in the area of women’s rights and reproductive health.
Morbia has been the executive director of Inter Pares since 2009. She first joined the organization in 2001 as a program manager working with the Asia team and spent five years managing Inter Pares’ extensive Burma program. She has since also worked with various counterparts in Asia and Africa.