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Legarda: Let’s Save More Filipino Infants Thru Educated Parenting

September 1, 2013

Senator Loren Legarda today said that the country can continue to improve infant survival rate if parents, especially first-time mothers, are provided with right information and education on proper care for newborns and infants.

Legarda noted that statistics from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) showed the downward trend in the Philippines’ newborn and infant mortality rate.

In 1990, neonatal mortality rate is at 23 deaths per 1,000 live births. It decreased to 14 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2010. For the same period, infant mortality rate decreased from 42 deaths per 1,000 live births to 23 deaths per 1,000 live births.

A study from the National Statistics Office revealed that “neonatal deaths stem from poor maternal health, inadequate care during pregnancy, inappropriate management of complications during pregnancy and delivery, poor hygiene during delivery and the first critical hours after birth, and lack of newborn care.”

Legarda said that presented with these facts, there is a need to equip expectant parents with basic knowledge and skills that will foster effective parenting.

“An expectant mother’s knowledge about childbirth and skills on parenting has historically been obtained from other women, mainly from family members and through practical experience gained from caring for children from extended families. However, women’s increased participation in the workforce and attainment of higher education have made more expectant mothers likely to rely on formally-organized antenatal education as a means by which they develop their knowledge and skills on parenting,” said Legarda.

In line with this, the Senator filed Senate Bill 356, Literacy for Parenting Act, which requires all public and private hospitals, clinic, health centers and other similar establishment rendering maternity services to provide literacy programs to all expectant mothers.

The literacy programs shall focus on providing expectant parents with skills they can use to foster responsible parenting and empower them to make informed and educated choices with regard to the health and well-being of their child.