SECRETARY ARSENIO M. BALISACAN
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and
MAF Consultation Workshop on Accelerating MDG Achievement
Linden Suites, San Miguel Avenue, Ortigas Center, Pasig City
13 March 2014
Fellow workers from the national government agencies, colleagues from the United Nations, LGUs, civil society, and non-government organizations; good morning and welcome to the MDG Acceleration Framework Consultation Workshop.
We are faced with the daunting challenge of achieving the 5th Millennium Development Goal of improving maternal health. With only 388 days remaining to the MDG deadline of 2015, a lot still remains to be undertaken to achieve the target of decreasing the maternal mortality ratio to 52 deaths per 100,000 livebirths.
Let me share with you some of the bottlenecks identified under the National Agenda to Accelerate the Achievement of MDG 5, which you may want to consider during the breakout sessions. For one, mothers still decide not to seek care from health facilities because a) they consider these unaffordable; b) they lack the means or allowance for transportation; c) they are uninformed of the benefits of PhilHealth insurance; and d) health facilities rendering basic as well as comprehensive emergency obstetric and newborn care are either unavailable or inaccessible. Moreover, beyond affordability and accessibility, some mothers who were interviewed still prefer the services of a hilot than nurses or midwives because they consider the former more caring than workers in health facilities. According to them hilots also handle household chores while they are still recovering from childbirth. Another concern we must further look into is the increasing number of teenage pregnancies.
With these challenges in mind, we need to rally and direct efforts at achieving MDG 5. Drawing on the previous MAF analysis, a new Action Plan will be formulated. This plan would include a monitoring and coordination system and implementation mechanism as a guide to fast-track efforts for MDG 5. We are hoping that this session would be able to map out and elicit doable solutions and partnerships on how we can move forward to 2015 successfully.
Let us all remember that we are all at the frontlines of the battle for improving maternal health. The task ahead may be challenging, but with a swift and purposive action from every stakeholder, I am confident that we can achieve MDG 5. As Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated, “with the right investments, we can make a huge difference in the lives of every woman and every child.”
“No woman should die giving life.” Let this be our battle cry.
Here’s to a productive day ahead. Thank you.
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