Women Deliver to promote investment in maternal and newborn health

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Press release: Women Deliver Philippines, the country’s first-ever localization of the global conference that started in London, brings to spotlight the tragic deaths of women women during pregnancy and childbirth and newborns dying during their first month of life to mobilize investment for the improvement of maternal and newborn health.

The issue becomes more urgent now as latest government report on the progress of the Millennium Development Goals show that the Philippines’ target to reduce maternal deaths is least likely to be achieved by 2015.

Speakers from government, private and civil society organizations, including regional development leaders will gather for the three-day conference, which opens on Wednesday, Sept. 15, to promote investment and share solutions that can prevent maternal and newborn deaths and disabilities. Everyday, 11 mothers die in the Philippines due to preventable causes during pregnancy and childbirth. (Please add data on newborn deaths per day).

Health Secretary Enrique Ona will deliver a keynote speech on the formal opening of the conference, which will be attended by dignitaries from the Australian government, the European Union, the United Nations led by UN Resident Coordinator Jacqueline Badcock, United Nations Population Fund Regional Director Nobuko Horibe and heads of other UN organizations in the Philippines. The conference is organized by the Department of Health, the United Nations and Likhaan Center for Women’s Health, with support from the European Union.

Prior to the opening, there will be a parliamentarians’ forum where topics such as the three approaches to maternal death reduction and the state of family planning and misconceptions on contraception will be discussed. Other sessions will tackle applying effective maternal and neonatal survival strategies in the Philippines.

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There will also be a Youth Congress, which will address barriers to young people’s access to sexual and reproductive health information and services, and a Media Congress, which will define the media’s role in accelerating efforts to achieve the MDG targets on maternal and newborn health.

On the second day, topics for discussion include maternal mortality and human rights; sexual and reproductive rights, equity and accountability and strengthening the health system to attain MDG targets on maternal and newborn health. There will be a special session on interfaith initiatives on safe motherhood.

The third day will focus on investing financial, material and human resources for the improvement of maternal and newborn health, and exercising effective leadership and country commitment to maternal and newborn health. There will be a special session on strengthening demand through effective advocacy and communication.

International speakers for the three-day conference will also include Dr. Yu Wei Siang of Sexxie TV Singapore, Dr. Saramma Mathai of the UNFPA Asia Pacific Regional Office, Della Rose Sherratt of UNFPA, Ambassador Alistair MacDonald of the European Union, UNICEF Representative Vanessa Tobin, Dr. Hans Troedson of the World Health Organization-Western Pacific Regional Office, Dr. Helen de Pinho of Columbia University, Dr. Mario Festin of World Health Organization-Geneva, and Jagdish Upadhyay of the UNFPA Global Programme for Reproductive Health Commodity Security.

For more information on the Women Deliver Philippines conference, contact Likhaan Center for Women’s Health at tel. no. 926-6230 or E-mail [email protected]

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For media queries, please contact:
Women Deliver media committee
Arlene Calaguian Alano, 901.0306, (0917) 515.3559, [email protected]
Chi Laigo Vallido, 426.5484, (0918) 944.3850, [email protected]

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