Editorial: 500-day milestone

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Sunday, August 24, 2014

IT WENT by without us noticing -- the 500-day milestone toward the target date to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on August 18, 2014.

There is reason we did not notice. First, we were not aware. But this very reason can spell doom for these ambitious targets committed to be achieved by government, including ours.

The countdown to the MDG's end now officially starts as the days rush on, while successes seem to have long tapered down.


In our region alone, we are getting to be more sure by now that we will not hit the targets, specifically targets 4 (Reduce child mortality) and 5 (Improve maternal health).

As can be gleaned from the report in our in-depth coverage of health for all, the second series of which appears today, just around one percent of the mothers of indigenous peoples in their hinterland communities have been attended to by health personnel, a whopping 95 percent of whom only got the help of traditional hilots and a bothersome 3.8 percent have not been attended to by anyone trained or through sheer practice knew how to deliver babies.

We know how productive these mothers are in the hinterlands. A family can have as many as a dozen or more children, all coming one after the other.

The 500-day milestone has come to pass, since the MDG was signed in year 2000. More than a decade had passed and while we may have racked up a considerable number of gains, mothers and infants continue to die at childbirth, and as those advocating for maternal health always say, one mother who dies while giving birth to a child is already one too many. With a whopping 95 percent not getting maternal health service, we can just imagine how many they are who are dying out there.

We thus remember a visit to the hinterland villages in Marilog district several years ago to also check on maternal health, where we were told that every time highway-side hear the siren of a 911 ambulance, they are sure that yet another mother is having difficulty giving birth.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 25, 2014.


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