Photo: Susan Warner/Save the Children
Joan Constantino,19, left, is measured by community health worker, Nemia Rios while at Save the Childrne’s Infant Youth Child Feeding (ICYF) health assessment program in Estancia, Iloilo, Philippines. She is holding her 19-day-old daughter Juriana Rill.
The uptake of Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) has made the Philippines a regional leader in the intervention, which helps preterm and low birthweight babies. The country has also made steady progress in reducing the child mortality rate since 2009. Despite that, postnatal care for mothers, newborn, and in particular preterm babies, must accelerate.
The new “Unang Yakap” program, meaning First Embrace, is a campaign of the Philippines’ Department of Health (DOH), in cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO), to adopt the Essential Intrapartum and Newborn Care (EINC) guidelines for the safe and quality care of mothers and their newborns. Once those guidelines have been set in place, the government aims to increase the coverage of quality care services across the country.
Furthermore, the government has been proactive in its involvement in the Every Newborn action plan process. The plan calls for a sharpening of existing country programs and policies which will scale up the quality and coverage of care around the time of birth.
The commitment by the government to scaling up care with new and updated guidelines and action with these two initiatives will only help to improve the health outcomes for mothers and newborns around the time of birth.