Morality rate of children under five declining
MORE than half of Filipino married women used some form of contraceptives last year, the National Statistics Office (NSO) reported Monday. According to the preliminary results of the 2008 National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS), the agency said 51 percent of the married women in the Philippines use methods of family planning, higher than in 1998 (47 percent) and in 2003 (49 percent).
“The increase in the CPR [contraceptive prevalence rate] over the last decade, from 1998 to 2008, is statistically significant. However, the observed increase in the past five years is not significant,” NSO said.
According to the survey conducted last year by the Guttmacher Institute, a non-profit organization that undertakes global research for the advancement of reproductive health, around 10.2 million Filipino women are at risk from unintended pregnancy. Most of them are married.
A similar local study showed that more than half of the 3.4 million pregnancies per year in the Philippines were unintended, and 92 percent occurred to women who either used no contraceptive method or an inappropriate one.
Despite the health benefits of contraception, the use of it is far below the apparent demand, especially for women from impoverished families who could not afford it.
The Guttmacher study said the low ratio of contraceptive usage among Filipinos has a major impact on maternal health and mortality.
National health surveys conducted by the government in 2006 showed that maternal mortality measured 162 deaths per 100,000 live births. The study said that 12 percent of maternal deaths were caused by unsafe abortions.
The NSO said 34 percent of married women rely on a modern method, mostly the pill (16 percent) and female sterilization (9 percent). The use of the pill has increased in the past five years, from 13 percent in 2003 to 16 percent in 2008.
“Users of modern natural family planning methods comprise less than 1 percent. Modern natural family planning methods include cervical mucus method, or ovulation method or billings method, standard days method and lactational amenorrhea method,” NSO said.
Meanwhile, 17 percent of married women use a traditional method such as withdrawal and calendar or rhythm method.
The NSO conducted the 2008 NDHS from August 7 to September 27, 2008. The 2008
NDHS is a nationally representative survey of almost 14,000 households and 14,000 women age 15 to 49.
In a separate survey, NSO said mortality of children under five years had gradually declined to 34 per 1,000 births from 54 deaths per 1,000 live births during the period between 1988 and 1992 and 40 deaths in 1998 to 2002.
The NSO said the Philippines redouble its effort to meet the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of reducing by two-thirds, or 67 percent the under-five mortality or to further decrease to 18 the number of under-five mortality.
The MDG agreed in 2000 by 189 nations, including the Philippines, calls for a reduction of the under-five morality rate by two-thirds, or 67 percent between 1990 and 2015.
“The 2008 NDHS estimate represents a decrease of only 37 percent from the base estimate. Maternal and child health program implementers need to redouble efforts to achieve the desired MDG target or under-five mortality rate,” the agency said.
The NSO said preliminary results also showed “some improvement in maternal care.”
About 91 percent of women with at least one live birth in the five years prior to the 2008 NDHS had received antenatal care from a health professional compared to 88 percent of the women based on the 2003 NDHS.
— Darwin G. Amojelar, Reporter with Ana Santos and Xinhua, Manila Times