Tuesday, July 23, 2024

COVID-19: Maternal, infant deaths spike in Philippines

The Philippines’ Department of Health said Tuesday that maternal and infant deaths spiked during the past two years of the COVID-19 pandemic.

• January 17, 2023
Health workers attending to Covid-19 patient
Health workers attending to Covid-19 patient [Photo credit: NPR]

The Philippines’ Department of Health (DOH) said Tuesday that maternal and infant deaths spiked during the past two years of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The DOH officer-in-charge, Rosario Vergeire, said that many mothers failed to access maternal health services due to pandemic restrictions.

“Many mothers opted to give birth at home, so the maternal deaths spiked,” Vergeire told a press conference. If you give birth at home, the risk of a child dying due to complications is also high,” she added.

Ms Vergeire said the pandemic prevented children from getting vaccines for other diseases, making them prone to illnesses leading to death.

“That is another reason we have a spike of children dying,” she added. She also noted that many children experienced “progressing malnutrition” during the past two years due to the lack of nutrients, stressing that “children are more prone to illnesses, and the risk of severe complications or death is high.”

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said over 60,000 children under five years old, among whom 60 per cent are newborns, die annually in the Philippines because of premature birth, intrapartum complications, and infectious disease complications.

The Philippines needs to increase access to quality maternal and child health and nutrition services, achieve full vaccination of all children, and ensure good health and nutrition, the agency said in a recent statement. 


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