Knowing how busy Cabinet secretaries are, I accepted an invitation to be one of the bloggers to meet and greet Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Janette Garin. It was probably one of her last acts under the Aquino administration but it was good to know what health programs were carried out under her watch and which ones she will be endorsing to the incoming administration.
It is such a tragedy for any couple about to welcome their baby into their lives to lose that baby so soon after it is born because of prematurity. And yet here in the Philippines, statistics show that we rank 2nd in the number of premature births in Southeast Asia, 8th worldwide, and 17th in deaths arising from preterm birth complications. This, even after the United Nations, through the Millennium Summit in 2000, launched the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which included as one of its goals the reduction of child mortality.
Complications plaguing preterm babies have also been on the rise at an alarming rate. Complications are the leading cause of death among children under 5 years of age and is responsible for almost 1 million deaths in 2013. Neonatal respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) is the 2nd leading cause of death among premature infants in the Philippines and the leading verifiable one.
WOW! As a Mom, that hits me really hard knowing these statistics. I count myself blessed that giving birth to my 4 children was not too complicated and they were all born full term. But many other Filipino mothers have not been as lucky and have had to bury their babies after nurturing them for many months in their wombs.
This is a large part of our population known as the silent ones. These babies cannot defend themselves. Others will have to speak up for them.