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PIA Press Release
2010/05/19

Cebu City health centers get upgrade, aim to reduce maternal mortality rate

Cebu City (19 May) -- Though maternal mortality rate is declining in Cebu City, health officials want to achieve a zero fatality case among pregnant women as the Cebu City Health Office (CCHO) continues to upgrade the facilities of the 80 barangay health centers to improve services on safe normal deliveries.

CCHO Human Resources Development Chief Dr. Stella Ygonia bared there were 18 maternal fatality cases recorded last year which went down from 27 cases in previous years.

Ygonia said the 18 maternal deaths is still within the less than one percent per 1,000 live births recorded but that "it is always a sad fact even if we just lose one mother because the family always suffers in the end."

Status of maternal health care in Cebu City is still within good conditions as out of the more than 19,000 deliveries, only 18 maternal deaths were recorded albeit the CCHO is still implementing measures to achieve a zero maternal mortality rate, according to Ygonia.

Ygonia was one of the main guests of the PIA Kapihan that tackled the topic on safe motherhood and cervical cancer. Pres. Arroyo declared every second week of May as ?Safe Motherhood' Week after the celebration of Mother's Day every second Sunday of May while the month of May is also observed as Cervical Cancer Awareness Month.

Out of the 18 maternal deaths, seven died due to pregnancy-related causes while the 11 cases had concomitant conditions like heart diseases, according to Ygonia.

The CCHO is focusing on two things which are upgrading the health facilities of barangay health centers to ensure safe delivery and providing them with adequate supplies, Ygonia stressed.

"The new trend now is that the health center will also be a birthing center where normal deliveries are done," Ygonia said.

Ygonia added that with the new trend, the Cebu City Hospital can now focus more on obstetric emergency cases rather than normal deliveries.

Dr. Hie Tanggaan, senior resident of the OB-Gyne Dept. of the government-manned Vincente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) on the other hand, said there are three major causes of maternal deaths namely hypertension, hemorrhage and infection.

Tanggaan said in most cases, pregnant women only learn they have high blood pressure during the late stage of pregnancy usually around five months and without proper medication, these women developed seizures.

Other pregnant women also do not go for regular pre-natal check-ups and along the way, something happens that exposes them to the risk of hemorrhage while an infection is seen when there is premature rupture of the membranes, Tanggaan disclosed.

The VSMMC caters to an average of 400 deliveries a month with an average of three to four maternal deaths, this is said.

Tanggaan admitted that the VSMMC OB ward is over congested with patients reaching slightly over a hundred and only 38 beds which mean one bed is equivalent to three patients.

"It's good to note that the CCHO is strengthening its referral system where health centers can now provide safe normal deliveries while hospitals take charge of obstetric emergency cases," Tanggaan said. (PIA-Cebu/FCR) [top]

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