DOH calls for safer pregnancy in health caravan

This is a press release from Lakbay Buhay Kalusugan.

June 13, 2011 – Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija – “So many mothers die needlessly from childbirth-related causes,” said Rio Magpantay, the Regional Director of the Department of Health (DOH) in Central Luzon, during the press conference of its health fiesta caravan Lakbay Buhay Kalusugan (LBK) at the Sangguniang Bayan Hall of Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija recently.

Gabaldon is the site of the third leg of LBK, a health promotion campaign of DOH. The caravan was earlier launched in Capas, Tarlac, then made a stopover at Lingayen, Pangasinan before proceeding to Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija to promote maternal health, child health and nutrition and family health among 16 barangays of Gabaldon. Some 2,200 fathers, mothers and children took part in the different educational but fun activities during the LBK yesterday and today

“Our approach is holistic. We take care of the health of both the mother and the child. It is important for them to know what they are doing right, and what they are doing wrong,” Magpantay said, and added, “I look forward to the day when no mother in our country would die due to childbirth or childbirth-related causes.”

DOH National Center for Health Promotion (NCHP) Director Asuncion Anden said that “the main or key message of LBK is that health is a shared responsibility. We all have something at stake in the good health of the community.”

Anden cited healthy practices that a woman, her husband and family can do to ensure safer pregnancy and childbirth. “She needs to see her midwife at least four times during her pregnancy. Together with her husband, prepare a birth plan. Decide to give birth at the health facility with the help of a doctor, nurse or midwife.”

She took note of LBK’s collaboration among local governments, with technical assistance from and the support of  private partners.

LBK is made possible by a partnership among DOH, the LGU of Gabaldon and Nueva Ecija, the US Agency for International Development (USAID), and private partners such as the Dona Marta T. Hernandez Foundation of Victory Liner Inc., Philippine Daily Inquirer, Melawares, Air21, OMF Literature Inc., Dakila – Philippine Collective for Modern Heroism,  Manila Broadcasting Company, UNTV, Center for Community Journalism and Development, Philippine Press Institute, and the Alliance of Young Nurse Leaders and Advocates International, Inc.

Dr. Magpantay, who experienced LBK when it was launched in Tarlac says that the Aeta community – which descended from Mount Pinatubo to attend LBK — responded well to the health promotion caravan. He expressed his faith that partners would continue to improve the health situation of constituents.

Anden stressed that DOH does not enter a community until the local government unit (LGU) is prepared. This is preceded by several stakeholders’ meetings. She revealed that LBK will be back in Nueva Ecija in 2012 and that DOH will provide technical assistance.

As a parting shot, Magpantay said,  “Life is a journey. We need to take care of our health. Walang Iwanan sa Byaheng Kalusugan!”