BAGUIO CITY – Local government and health officials, health managers and various stakeholders from the different parts of the Cordillera commended the successful implementation of a 5-year program funded by the Japan International Cooperating Agency (JICA) that significantly improved the delivery of basic health services to the grassroots.
According to Dra. Amelita M. Pangilinan, assistant regional director of the Cordillera office of the Department of Health (DOH-CAR), the successful implementation of the JICA-funded project in the region has made it necessary to share the project results at the national level to feed into policy decisions, explore potentials for replication in other regions, and offer the much needed opportunity for local health leaders and workers to share good practices and lesson learned on saving the lives of mothers and babies.
On his part, Health Undersecretary Herminigildo Valle stressed the agency’s appreciation to JICA for the support to the DOH-CAR that successfully contributed to reducing the maternal deaths because of pregnancy-related complications.
He added the 5-year project that started in 2012 and will wind up in February this year have advanced its achievement beyond targets and was awarded by the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) for best practice in 2014.
The Cordillera-wide project Strengthening of the Local Health System for Effective and Efficient Delivery of Maternal and Child Health Services was implemented in the provinces of Apayao, Abra, and Benguet as the project sites but later included Ifugao, Kalinga and Mountain province as expansion sites.
In 2016, the residents-based target client list was expanded and implemented outside of the Cordillera in Pangasinan.
As its project life of nurturing partnerships and working with local chief executives in the rural communities ends, the DOH-CAR and JICA spearheaded the national dissemination forum that shared the project milestones, good practices, lessons learned and experiences in the implementation of the project specifically in the reduction of maternal and infant mortality.
In 2011, 3 out of every 10 pregnant women in the region gave birth at home attended by traditional birth attendants or “hilots’ and in the 2011 field health service information system, maternal mortality in the region was high at 62 per 100,000 live births which was far above the Millennium Development goal (MDG) target of 52 per 100,000 live births.
Among the results of the project were the rapid reduction of maternal deaths from 71 per 100,000 live births in 2012 to 45 in 2015 which is far below the MDG goal; almost all at 92 percent of mothers gave birth in the health facilities; improved health facility infrastructure and equipment to provide quality maternal care and development of a local version of mother-and-child book known as family health diary to protect the cultural integrity of Cordillerans and serves as a record and information material for the various health services which they can avail of at the different health facilities.
Mountain Province Gov. Bonifacio Lacwasan, Jr., and Kalinga Vice Gov. James Edduba expressed their gratitude to the DOH and JICA for the implementation of the timely interventions that resulted in the significant reduction of maternal and child deaths in their respective areas and the improvement of their health facilities on the ground. By HENT