Birth spacing saves lives
Butuan City (20 November) -- As built up by studies, couples who space their births 3 to 5 years apart increase their children's chances of survival, and mothers are more likely to survive, too.
Various studies show that although birth spacing of at least two years has been recommended over the years, recent studies show that children born 3 years or more after a previous birth are healthier at birth and more likely to survive at all stages of infancy and childhood through age five.
The Commission on Population will intensify the birth spacing campaign in time of the celebration of the Population and Development Week on November 23-29. While the theme for this year's celebration is "Population, Poverty, and Development", POPCOM, on the other hand, adopted the slogan "Responsableng Pagpapamilya Tungo sa Kaunlaran: Sa Tamang Agwat ng Panganganak Pamilya ay Aangat".
POPCOM Director Camilo S. Pangan cited that despite the communication campaign for family planning in the country, a substantial 22 percent unmet need for family planning remains. In 2008, Caraga's unmet need for family planning exceeded the national average at 26 percent, 15.5 of these are for limiting births and 10.5 for spacing births.
The Demographic and Health Survey has provided some of the best evidence that spacing births further apart improves mother's health. Compared with women who gave birth at 9 to 14 month intervals, women who have their babies at 27 to 32 month birth intervals are more likely to avoid anemia, avoid third-trimester bleeding and are more likely to survive childbirth.
The study pointed out the need for birth spacing to avoid complications and reduce the cases of infant and maternal deaths. "Shorter birth intervals may not allow mothers to restore nutritional reserves that provide for adequate fetal nutrition and growth. Fetal growth retardation and premature delivery can result in low birth weight and greater risk of death", findings said.
POPCOM has taken the campaign directly to the couples through the conduct of responsible parenting classes in the barangays. "We are hoping that more couples will adopt the value of responsible parenting and practice family planning of their choice to address the unmet need of millions of couples thereby helping them to achieve their family planning goals", Pangan added. (Rutchie C. Saluta, POPCOM-13/PIA-Caraga) [top]