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Province of South Cotabato

Increasing maternal deaths prompt DOH to expand prenatal care

South Cotabato, Philippines—The rising number of maternal deaths in  the Philippines prompted the Department of Health (DOH) to take proactive measures in addressing maternal health issues. In response to this alarming trend, the DOH has announced plans to increase the number of prenatal, including the post natal care visits for pregnant women.

Geneses Navales, Nurse III and Safe Motherhood Program Coordinator of the South Cotabato Integrated Provincial Health Office, highlighted the importance of expanding prenatal care services.

“Pregnant women need comprehensive care throughout their pregnancy and beyond. From four prenatal care visits, we are now advocating for eight prenatal and postnatal care visits, including care for the 42 days after giving birth,” Navales said in an interview.

Dr. Melva Magana, Maternal Program Medical Supervisor of DOH Region 12, elaborated on the rationale behind this strategy.

She stated, “Our goal is to ensure that mothers receive adequate care and support throughout the perinatal period, including the crucial postpartum period. This is especially important in light of the recorded cases of postpartum depression among new mothers.”

According to records from the DOH regional office, maternal deaths account for a significant percentage of mortality rates in the SOCSKSARGEN region.

“In the past year, a total of 34 mothers, were reported in our region due to complications related to childbirth,” Dr. Magana revealed.

The decision to expand prenatal care services reflects the DOH’s commitment to improving maternal health outcomes and reducing the incidence of maternal mortality. By providing expectant mothers with comprehensive care and support, the department aims to safeguard the well-being of mothers and their newborns throughout the perinatal period.

Last January, regional health officials launched the High Risk Tracking Syste, the first such system in the entire Philippines focused on tracking pregnant women in the community to identify complications earlier than expected.

The DOH urges pregnant women in South Cotabato to take advantage of the expanded prenatal care services available to them. Through regular check-ups and access to essential healthcare interventions, mothers can ensure a safer and healthier pregnancy journey.

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