BY Cai Ordinario, February 11, 2020; Business Mirror

With only a decade left to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the number of women dying from childbirth in the country increased, data released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed.

The data further showed maternal deaths increased to 1,616 in 2018 compared to 1,484 in 2017, or a two year high when maternal deaths reached 1,721 in 2015.

Based on the SDGs, countries must bring down the number of maternal deaths to 70 per 100,000 live births. In the Philippine Development Plan (PDP), the Duterte administration aims to bring down its maternal mortality ratio to 90 by 2022.

“Maternal death is the death of a woman while pregnant, or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy, irrespective of the duration and site of the pregnancy, from any cause related to, or aggravated by the pregnancy, or its management, but not from accidental or incidental causes,’” the PSA said. This is based on the definition set by the World Health Organization (WHO).

PSA data showed Calabarzon recorded the most number of maternal deaths with 245, or 15.2 percent, of the total. Unfortunately, this represented a 10.36- percent increase from the 222 posted in 2017.

Other regions that accounted for a large share of maternal deaths in 2018 were Region 7 (Central Visayas) and Metro Manila with 230 and 195 deaths, respectively.

Maternal deaths in Region 7 accounted for 14.2 percent in 2018. However, this represented a 40.24-percent increase from 164 deaths in 2017.

PSA data showed that maternal deaths in Metro Manila accounted for 12.1 percent of the total in 2018. This was the same number posted in 2017.

Meanwhile, the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) recorded the least number of maternal deaths, each with only 12 percent or 0.7 percent of the total.

Maternal deaths in CAR contracted 7.69 percent compared to 2017 when there were 13 deaths while those in ARMM posted a contraction of 36.84 percent from 19 deaths in 2017.

The reduction of the maternal mortality ratio (MMR) of the country is one of the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets that the country failed to achieve.

The target is to reduce by three-quarters, between 1990 and 2015, the maternal mortality ratio.

In 1990, the country’s MMR was at 209 deaths per 100,000 live births. Based on this, the country should have been able to cut this to 52 deaths per 100,000 live births by 2015.

Reducing maternal deaths is also part of the SDGs under Goal 3 of ensuring healthy lives and promoting the well-being for all at all ages.

The SDGs are composed of 17 goals with around 169 targets with 230 global indicators adopted in September 2015.

The Global Goals aim to end poverty and hunger, promote universal health, education for all and lifelong learning, achieve gender equality, sustainable water management, ensure sustainable energy for all, decent work for all, resilient infrastructure, and reduce income inequality between and among countries.

The goals also include the creation of sustainable cities, ensure sustainable consumption and production, take action against climate change, conserve and sustainably use oceans and marine resources, reduce biodiversity loss, achieve peaceful and inclusive societies, and revitalize global partnership for development.