Health officials have expressed alarm over an increasing incidence of maternal deaths in Palawan blamed primarily on inadequate medical attention received especially by poor pregnant mothers.
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Mary Ann Navarro said that during the first half of this year alone, they have recorded a total of 11 maternal deaths throughout the province, mostly concentration in southern Palawan, compared to 27 cases reported last year.
Navarro said the common cause of maternal death is excessive bleeding or hemorrhage during delivery, usually performed by traditional “hilot” practitioners.
“Yung hilot kasi nagiging contributing factor kasi madalas pag sa bahay lang pinapaanak, and there is complication, hindi agad sila nadadala sa hospital, plus yung length ng time na dadalhin sila dun ay minsan namamatay na yung nanay,” Navarro told Palawan News.
She said that traditional delivery or “hilot” is considered unsafe as the practitioners are not trained to address medical complications.
“Dapat kasi lahat ng buntis ay facility-based delivery na o yung sa hospital talaga sila manganganak. Minsan kasi pag nasa bahay there are some instances na may problema during delivery at hindi agad nabibigyan ng response,” Navarro said.
“Yung bleeding talaga yung pinakamataas (cause of death). Minsan, hindi naalagaan yung katawan ng nanay during those stages na dapat ay nabibigyan ng alaga kaya pag namamatay ang nanay during delivery,” she added.
She said that teenagers at the age of 10-19 are the considered most at risk, those who are bearing a child for the fourth to fifth time, as well as those who are pregnant at the age of 30-35.
“Yung mga teenagers na buntis at yung mga pang limang beses na nila manganak, since risky sila, dinadala na yan sila sa hospital days ahead their delivery, para maalagaan na sila agad,” said Navarro.
She also said that hypertension and heart attacks during delivery is also identified as the cause of maternal death.
Navarro said the PHO is reaching out to the communities to extend proper medical services to pregnant women and prepare them for their deliveries.
“We strengthen our advocacy for safe motherhood. We go to barangays and municipalities to give free check-ups para sa mga buntis at mga gamot,” she said.
She added that the southern part of Palawan has the highest number or reported maternal death cases.