As part of the celebration of Women’s month, the Department of Health Regional Office V advocates the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health (RPRH) law to ensure the health and well-being of women by preventing high-risk pregnancies, preventing unwanted/unplanned pregnancies, maternal deaths and responding to unmet needs of women.
The 2017 National Women’s Month, with the theme “WE Make Change Work for Women”, shall focus on the full implementation of the Magna Carta for Women (MCW) or Republic Act 9710. The theme emphasizes that women should be active drivers in bringing about positive changes in our community and they should also reap from development efforts. This shall not be possible without addressing the health needs of women in which the RPRH law implements.
One of the Socio Economic Agenda of President Rodrigo Duterte is to strengthen the implementation of the RPRH law to enable individuals, especially poor couples, to make informed choices on family planning. RPRH law also known as Republic Act 10354 is a national policy that mandates the Philippine government to comprehensively address the needs of Filipino citizens when it comes to responsible parenthood and reproductive health. As such, the RH Law guarantees the following: (1) access to services on Reproductive Health (RH) and Family Planning (FP), with due regard to the informed choice of individuals and couples who will accept these services, (2) maternal health care services, including skilled birth attendance and facility-based deliveries, (3) reproductive health and sexuality education for the youth, and (4) regular funding for the law’s full implementation.
In the country, 81% of women of reproductive age either want to delay or prevent pregnancy and 18% of our women don’t have access to contraceptives based on the National Demographic and Health Survey 2013. The lack of access to FP services put them at risk of unplanned/unwanted pregnancy which may lead to high risk pregnancies or even death.
In 2016, the Bicol region had 96,714 deliveries in which 90.02% were attended by skilled health professional and 89.84% delivered at a DOH recognized facility. Although this rate is within the national target, the remaining 10% can be attributed to the 135 maternal death rate in the region.
On January 9, 2017, President Duterte signed Executive Order no. 12, entitled “Attaining and Sustaining ‘Zero Unmet Need for Modern Family Planning’ through the strict implementation of the RPRH Act, Providing Funds therefor and for other purposes”. This aims to intensify and accelerate the implementation of critical actions necessary to attain and sustain ‘Zero Unmet Need’ which can possibly answer the needs of marginalized and underserved individuals desiring family planning services.