Here’s some good news just in time for Mother’s Day! According to the 2015 State of the World’s Mothers global index published by Save the Children, Metro Manila was among the top cities in the world to cut child mortality rates among urban poor.
The annual global mother’s index report reveals that in the last 20 years, child survival rates among the urban poor in Metro Manila have improved in comparison to other developing countries. Between 1993 and 2008, the child mortality rate went from 81 to 38 deaths per 1,000 lives deaths. Over this period of time, the poorest urban children went from being 4 times as likely to die to being twice as likely to die compared to their wealthy peers. The capital region has also achieved about 4% reduction in under-5 mortality per year since 1998.
Although I still find this alarming, let’s still consider this as a win because at least child mortality was cut to half! I do hope we reduce it further in the coming years. The question is…how? The success in Metro Manila is all thanks to improved quality of services, public-private partnerships, structural reforms and health care innovations introduced to the local government units as well as sustained involvement of civil society in maternal and child health care programs.
However, although this is a huge step, we have a long way to go in the Philippines. A global study suggests that 1 in 5 infants who died in 2010 were in the capital region. While health facilities and obstetric care are physically more accessible in the capital region, the report revealed that many poor people still could not afford associated health costs.
To make sure that progress continues, Save the Children Philippines is working really hard with the government and families to ensure that children, particularly those in Metro Manila, will be given every opportunity to fulfill their potential.
In this year’s country ranking of the State of the World’s Mothers report, which ranks the wellbeing of mothers and children, Philippines maintains its place from last year at number 105 out of 179 countries, behind Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia in South East Asia. The country is just ahead of Timor-Leste and Indonesia.
“The progress we have seen in the past two decades shows that closing the child survival gap between rich and the poor is attainable. But cities need to keep up with the breakneck growth as thousands of mothers and children in cities still have limited access to essential health services, food and clean water they need to survive and stay healthy. Save the Children is calling for strict implementation of maternal, child and newborn health care programs, including infant and young child feeding and increased local government investment to trainings for frontline health workers,” says Ned Olney, Country Director of Save the Children.
“If the Philippines is going to complete the task of ending preventable child and maternal deaths, we have to continue to find better ways of getting health care to urban populations, regardless of income,” he added.
Elisabeth Galeon, 40, has 11 children and one of them has a mental condition. She juggles different informal jobs just to meet the needs of her family. Her husband, Gil, 55 used to be a bus driver but now had to stop working because of his heart condition. Lisa and her happy disposition in life enables her to support her family on all of their needs. She sometimes takes laundry and cleaning jobs from her neighbors earning Php 200 (USD 4.5 ) a week. Save the Children supported Lisa’s family through the dental/health kit distribution, urban gardening, reading camps and sponsorship program.
Save the Children Philippines is active in educational, health, child protection and livelihood programs for families who need assistance. They are also active in child rights governance as well as during emergencies caused by natural disasters.
To know more about how you can get involved, visit www.savethechildren.org.ph.