According to the United Nation’s Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Philippines is one of the least likely of countries to reach Millennium Development Goal #5.A – Reduce by three quarters the ratio of women dying in childbirth. The Philippines has one of the highest maternal mortality ratios in the Southeast Asia region with an average of 221 deaths per 100,000 live births. This dire statistic has forced the Philippines to adjust their targets for fulfilling the Millennium Development Goals set forth by the United Nations in 2000. Rather than meeting the lower rate of 55-60 deaths per 100,000 live births, the goal now is to reduce maternal mortality to 160 deaths per 100,000 live births.
In the Philippines, midwives serve in a vital role during the birthing process. Midwives are medically trained and are registered through the government, ensuring proper and current training. However, only 60% of births are delivered by midwives. Many women and families in the Philippines rely, instead, on “traditional birth attendants” because they lack the resources for legitimate medical options with skilled birth attendants. Traditional birth attendants are not medically trained, rather, they are assistants to midwives or meet the criteria of someone who has assisted in a previous birth.
Alay Foundation seeks to improve this situation and aims to help reduce unnecessary deaths and complications associated with childbirth by partnering with midwives and allowing them the use of our birthing and women’s center. Along with the use of our facilities, an obstetrician and a pediatrician will be on-call throughout the delivery to assist the midwives should emergency care be needed. Immediate transfer to a fully equipped hospital, located minutes from the birthing center, will be arranged when emergency obstetric care is needed. The birthing and women’s center will directly contribute to the reduction of maternal death rates in the San Jose, NE region of the Philippines.
We will also provide staff and midwives continuing professional development in the form of comprehensive training as specified by the Department of Health and compatible with Philippine Red Cross standards. This partnership with the midwives is an integral part of our commitment to have only the most qualified midwives working with us.