INTL Day of Action for Women’s Health: Poverty, Healthcare Privatization Taking its Toll on Women

Press Release by Gabriela Women’s Party

For Reference:    


REP. EMMI DE JESUS 0917-3221203

Jang Monte (Public Information Officer) 0917-4049119

“Filipino women’s access to healthcare services and malnutrition have gone from bad to worse in the past few years. Widespread unemployment, poverty and hunger have resulted to widespread malnutrition among Filipino mothers and their children.”

This is according to Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Luzviminda Ilagan who expressed her alarm, noting that a survey released by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) revealed that one of every four pregnant Filipino mothers are nutritionally at risk. The same survey also revealed that the incidence of malnutrition increases among the younger mothers and especially among those in the lowest income brackets.

Almost four out of ten or 37.2% of young pregnant women aged 20 years old and below are nutritionally at risk. The prevalence of malnutrition among women in the lower income bracket is at 30% and 14.4% among women in the higher income brackets.

“Amid such malnutrition and poverty exacerbated by the inaccessibility of healthcare services, it is not surprising that maternal mortality rate in the Philippines is now at 221 for every 100,000 live births,” said Ilagan.

Malnutrition among pregnant women, the lack of key nutritional supplements, deficiencies in iron, iodine, and calcium have been found to have adverse effects on a women’s pregnancy and delivery. The risk of mortality due to hemorrhage and eclampsia is high among malnourished women.

Ilagan explained that the government’s failure to address the increases in the price of rice and other food items has reduced staple food for a majority of Filipino women and their children to instant noodles and canned goods.

The Gabriela solon also said the Aquino government’s penchant for allowing private sector and big business incursion into public hospitals have made healthcare even more inaccessible for women and their children. “Wala na ngang makain sa pang araw-araw, saan pa kaya kukuha ng pambayad sa ospital sakaling magkasakit? Women spending for healthcare has gone down among the least of women’s priorities especially since the basic need for food and shelter is barely met.”

Ilagan said there is an urgent need to address the worsening healthcare situation of women and a reversal of the Aquino government’s privatization policy is imperative.

The women’s partylist group continues to call for free and accessible healthcare services. Gabriela Women’s Party is one of the partners of the Davao RH network that will conduct a Women’s Health Fair tomorrow at the Davao Medical School Foundation, in time for the commemoration of the International Day of Action for Women’s Health in Davao City. Medical volunteers will be mobilized to provide free pre-natal check-ups, pap smear, optical and bone screening, IUD insertion/removal and dental services to women. Lectures on alternative and herbal medicine as well as HIV-AIDS awareness will also be conducted. #