The number of indigenous families who benefitted from the family planning method has increased, inversely affecting maternal death rates, the United Nations Population Fund (UNPF) reported.
The report is based on the implementation of the Indigenous People’s Maternal, Newborn and Child Health and Nutrition (IP-M-N-CHN) project.
The reproductive health program intends to decrease the number of maternal deaths in five ancestral domains in Mindanao which are Agusan del Sur, Bukidnon, Compostela Valley Province, North Cotabato and Zamboanga del Sur.
The report revealed that contraceptive use in the five target ancestral domains has also rose for the past three years of the programs implementation.
For maternal deaths, Compostela Valley recorded one case last year from five cases reported in 2013 and there were two cases in Bukidnon last year. Meanwhile, there are no more cases reported in Agusan del Sur, North Cotabato, and Zamboanga del Sur since last year.
Many Lumad mothers have also given birth in health facilities in these areas since the start of the program.
Dr. Enrique Tayag, Director IV of the Bureau of Local Health Systems Development of the Department of Health (DOH) said the project served as an eye-opener for other government agencies on the health status and situation of the Lumad.
“The project systematically was aimed at improving access to maternal, neonatal, child health and nutrition services. That is very important because we want to be aligned with MDG (Millenium Development Goals) and SDG (Sustainable Development Goals),” said Tayag.
Tayag added that the programs helped in keeping maternal and infant deaths among the Lumad communities in Mindanao which remained unrecorded.
“We want to get information from the indigenous people (IP) communities, their ancestral domains, their practices, behavior and how they think about their health issues,” he added.
The agencies also hoped to make the IP especially women, to understand the importance of pre-natal check-ups and the supervision of doctors and nurses in giving birth for safe delivery.
“We have received feedbacks that the IP members will be surprised when the LGUs (Local Government Units) would impose restrictions on all deliveries and that all deliveries should be facility-based,” said Tayag.
The IP-M-N-CHN project is funded by the Europian Union (EU) and supported by the UNPF. The implementation started in January 2013 spearheaded by the DOH and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP).
But the EU have extended the duration of the project until December this year. With this, the DOH, NCIP and UNPF plan to expand the reach the of the beneficiaries to support the other health needs of the Lumads.
“Initially, there were five ancestral domains but because of their successes, it is funded to cover more domains,” said Tayag.
“We want to capacitate agencies as well as civil society organizations (CSOs) and even IP organizations how to plan and implement plans,” he added.
| Published in 105.9 Balita FM Facebook page: More IP families benefit family planning, reproductive health programs, April 27, 2016