Dato, CGMA push for 1 midwife per barangay

Reps. Diosdado "Dato" Macapagal Arroyo (2nd District, Camarines Sur) and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (2nd District, Pampanga) filed House Bill 2673, to be known as the Midwife to the Barangay Act to cover the gap on the delivery of maternal and infant healthcare services in the country.

Dato Arroyo
"Healthcare professionals are sorely lacking and unequally distributed in rural and urban areas and mostly have left the country in search for greener pastures," Arroyo said.

Arroyo said the services of midwives as front liners in the country's health care delivery system are essential in achieving the State's health policy, especially with regard to pre-natal and post natal maternal, and newborn care.

"Infant and maternal mortality rates worldwide are still alarmingly high, particularly in developing countries like the Philippines. According to the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children Fund, more than half a million women succumb to complications due to pregnancy or childbirth," Arroyo said.

Arroyo said around 99% of all maternal deaths occurs in developing countries, with some 84% concentrated in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

Under the measure, all barangays shall be equipped with one midwife but if the population of a barangay exceeds five thousand, the number of midwives shall be increased, as determined by the Department of Health (DOH).

All Midwives to the Barangay are mandated to ensure that mothers and infants are given quality and essential health care services, including, but not limited to prenatal and post natal care, breastfeeding support, providing information on the importance of immunization and ensuring that infants are given the proper vaccines as provided in the DOH Expanded Program on Immunization, and proper care and nutrition of both the mothers and the infants.

The DOH through its Center for Health Development is required to appoint the Midwife to the Barangay who shall as much as possible, come from the same barangay or municipality where he or she will be appointed, otherwise giving priority to remote areas with no existing healthcare professionals.

The DOH shall provide for the qualifications of the Midwife to the Barangay, ensuring that the midwives are equipped with Basic Emergency Obstetric Care, and providing them with training on Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric Care.

The DOH, in cooperation with the Department of Interior and Local, Government, the Civil Service Commission, and other concerned government agencies and non-government organizations shall formulate and promulgate the rules and regulations necessary to implement this Act.Media Relations Service, Public Relations and Information Bureau

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