DOH intensifies anti-abortion campaign

Manila, Philippines - Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Enrique Ona today, March 6, 2014 reiterated the need to inform the public on how to stop or prevent abortion as he cited data from the country’s major medical centers that show abortion ranking high among their admitted cases.

A girl reads the placard of one of the anti-abortion protesters
A girl reads the placard of one of the anti-abortion protesters | Photo Credit:

“The Department of Health (DOH) is against abortion. This is the reason why we want to provide accurate information to our people so that individuals can take charge of their health,” Ona said.

In a recent DOH report, it was noted that a high number of abortion cases was reported from the country’s medical centers such as Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital, Tondo Medical Center, Quirino Memorial Medical Center, and Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center, East Avenue Medical Center, all located in Metro Manila; the Paulino J. Garcia Memorial Research & Medical Center in Cabanatuan City, Cagayan Valley Medical Center, Baguio General Hospital & Medical Center and Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City.

Abortion cases consistently ranked from among top three of OBGyn admissions in the years 2012 and 2013.

The DOH prescribes 5 R’s to put a stop to abortion:

1. Ready facilities – Improvement and upgrade of birthing facilities continues. This is to ensure that the health centers have the capacity to perform normal spontaneous deliveries, and to refer these patients to hospitals should complications arise. The referral system should be improved to ensure timely coordination between health facilities. The mother should be aware beforehand which health facility (e.g. lying-in clinic, birthing center, government or private hospital) she plans to give birth in.

2. Ready skilled health workers – One of the important factors in reducing maternal mortality is to increase the number of deliveries performed by skilled health workers. Doctors, midwives, and nurses should be trained to deliver babies. Mothers should get adequate prenatal care, which include the management of anemia, high blood pressure and diabetes during pregnancy. Hence, to be safe, the public is urged to be under the care of a skilled professional.

3. Ready funds – Having a baby carries an important responsibility for the parents. They should save enough money for the birth of their child. However, for very poor patients, they can avail of their PhilHealth membership for free given by the national government or the LGUs. Having a PhilHealth card will provide free coverage of birthing expenses.

4. Right knowledge – For women in the reproductive age group, there are things you should know about should you decide to have a baby: (a) Be aware if you are a high risk pregnancy. Having a first baby, a fifth baby onward, being under 18 years old, and being more than 35 years old are all considered high risk; (b) Get prenatal check-ups. On the average, a pregnant woman needs to see a doctor every two months; (c) Stop smoking and drinking alcohol.

5. Responsible parenthood – Two strategies are needed to reduce the numbers of mothers dying. First, we must reduce teen pregnancies. This can be done through health education of the teens and also the parents. Parents can try to communicate with their teens about sex-related issues. A faith-based or community-based intervention can help in counselling teens to avoid risky behavior. Second, we should advocate for the three-year birth spacing rule and reduce unplanned pregnancies. From a medical standpoint, a woman is advised to wait two or three years before getting pregnant again to help the body to recover from the stress of pregnancy.

“The data shows us that abortion is happening in our midst more likely because these women lack the proper information on how to deal with high-risk or complicated pregnancies. Let’s stop abortion. Pregnancy can be a welcome phase for any woman and her partner, if it comes as planned and without any complications,” Ona concluded.

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