Why do Filipino Mothers Die?

(Philippines Department of Health, 2010)

(Philippines Department of Health, 2010)

According to data from the Philippines Department of Health the top 4 causes of maternal mortality are labor complications, pregnancy-related hypertension, postpartum hemorrhage, and unsafe abortion.

 

PhilippinesStatesMap

The areas of the Philippines where these causes of death and morbidity are the highest are rural, isolated regions/communities that exist far from the country’s capital and urban centers, including ARMM, SOCCKSARGEN, MIMAROPA and the Cagayan Valley as can be seen on the adjacent map.  Similar trends can be found for child health statistics as well, given that the areas plagued by these health outcomes are characterized by poor access to health care services, poverty, and geographic isolation, among other social determinants.  Specifically, maternal mortality and morbidity are associated with poor birthing practices including home births or births without a skilled birth attendant, and adequate perinatal health care by a health provider- all of which are closely tied to wealth, socioeconomic status and the urban-rural divide. The statistical breakdown of birthplace, perinatal health care and maternal health equity of the Philippines can be referenced below courtesy of the 2014 WHO report on Maternal and Perinatal health by the Department of Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health.

maternal health data

http://www.who.int/maternal_child_adolescent/epidemiology/profiles/maternal/phl.pdf

maternal health equity

http://www.who.int/maternal_child_adolescent/epidemiology/profiles/maternal/phl.pdf

Pattern of Improvement

The World Bank shows a significant downward trend in maternal mortality over the last 25 years (see graph below), however reducing maternal morbidity has had slower progress.  Fewer woman may be dying of disease, but UNICEF reports that the Philippines are still subject to high rates of maternal illness, obstetric complications, mental health issues and maternal malnourishment, which are subsequently influencing the status of neonatal and child health in the nation.

Maternal Mortality Ratio (World Bank, 2015)

Maternal Mortality Ratio (World Bank, 2015)

Given this information, the data and graphics below provide insight into the current state of affairs for maternal health in the Philippines.  These images provide a good foundation for understanding some of the current interventions (as we have defined on our maternal interventions tab), which aim to improve these statistics and strive for the reduction in both maternal morbidity and mortality in the Philippine islands, particularly in the most vulnerable communities.

maternal stats

https://www.unicef.org/philippines/8889.html

  • According to UNICEF
      • 160 women for every 100,000 births die.
      • Roughly over 11 women die every day.
      • 7 out of 10 deaths occur at childbirth or within a day after delivery.
      • 4 out of 10 deaths are due to complications and widespread infections
      • For every death, 40 more women get sick.
      • 8 out of 10 births in rural areas are delivered outside a health facility
maternal health indicators

http://www.who.int/maternal_child_adolescent/epidemiology/profiles/maternal/phl.pdf