Family planning is future planning for women. It is empowering women to choose a bright future. These were some of the fundamental concepts espoused during the recent Midwives Summit dubbed “Aligning with Global Trends: Midwives as LARC Providers” at Xenia Hotel in Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga.
Midwives from Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac, and Zambales provinces attended the event that highlighted their vital role in family planning and in delivering safe pregnancies, childbirths, and postpartum care.
Organized by the Integrated Midwives Association of the Philippines in partnership with PhilHealth Region III with support from MSD in the Philippines, the summit promotes the World Health Organization’s push to address the unmet need for family planning, which is a primary factor contributing to maternal mortality.
In 2015, WHO reported that about 830 women die from pregnancy or childbirth-related complications around the world every day. In the same year, roughly 303,000 women died during and following pregnancy and childbirth, according to the agency’s fact sheet on global maternal mortality.
In the country, 10 to 12 women die every day from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund Philippines.
“As drivers of reproductive health, we must strengthen the role of midwives in improving the health and quality of life of mothers and the Filipino family. Hence, they must be updated of new family planning methods such as Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives (LARC),” explained Asuncion Esmele, IMAP National President.
LARCs are more than 99 percent effective. When the woman decides to have hers removed, her regular fertility cycle immediately resumes. LARCs include the progestin subdermal implant and the intrauterine device (IUD).
The progestin subdermal implant is a small rod roughly the size of a toothpick, which is placed under the skin, and is effective as a contraceptive for three years. The IUD is a small T-shaped device, usually made of copper and plastic that may contain progestin and is inserted into the uterus, and is effective for at least five years.
The event presented the evolving role of midwives in family planning at the global perspective, and empowered the participants to help address the unmet need in family planning, which pertains to women who are not ready to conceive but are not using any method of contraception.
“Globally, there are still 241 million women with unmet need in family planning. As trusted partners in the community, the WHO recommends midwives to promote and provide LARC. Please stay committed to helping girls and women in the country have safer, healthier, and empowered futures,” said Maggie Kohn, Director, Women’s Health Access Programs at global biopharmaceutical company MSD.
Family Planning 2020 is a global, multi-stakeholder partnership that supports women and girls’ right to decide, freely and for themselves, whether, when, and how many children they want to have.
To promote access to quality reproductive healthcare, Walter Bacareza, Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) Regional Vice President for Central Luzon, urged midwives to help mothers in maximizing their Maternity Care Package, which includes health services and benefits during the antenatal period, normal delivery, and post-partum period.
“One of the proven effective solutions in addressing the increasing problem on maternal deaths is better access to family planning services,” underscored Bacareza.
Central Luzon is also known to have the most number of PhilHealth-accredited midwives with International Pregnancy Advisory Services (Ipas) subdermal implant training.
Ipas is a global non-governmental organization dedicated to ensuring that women obtain counseling and contraception to prevent future unintended pregnancies.
The Midwife Summit is part of IMAP’s Karapatan Mo Magplano (“It is Your Right to Plan”), which is its advocacy promoting family planning among women and families nationwide to support the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012.
It also supports the DOH’s family planning advocacy that is anchored on the basic principles of responsible parenthood, respect for life, birth spacing, and promoting informed choice among couples.
IMAP is a non-government organization committed to elevate the standard of midwifery profession and provide excellent healthcare services for women, families, and the community. To learn more about IMAP and its initiatives enforcing women’s health and empowerment, visit http://www.imapinc.org.