MANILA — The Department of Health (DOH) has vowed to take the active lead in providing responsible parenthood and reproductive health services to people living in Yolanda-devastated communities side by side with all the government agencies’ efforts to rehabilitate and rebuild the affected areas.
“The priority of all national government agencies involved in the rehabilitation and rebuilding of Yolanda-stricken communities is to assist each resident of all the affected communities to return to their normal lives. And the government is doing its best to accomplish this herculean task,” said Acting Health Secretary Janette Garin in a statement.
“The provision of responsible parenthood and reproductive health services, however, is also a critical component of the rehabilitation and rebuilding campaign,” Garin added.
The Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act (RP-RH Act) of 2012, declared by the Supreme Court as “not unconstitutional” on April 8, 2014, mandates the DOH and other government agencies to provide lifesaving maternal, neonatal, and child health services.
The implementation of the RP-RH Act, passed by Congress on Dec. 21, 2012, was delayed following a Supreme Court order “status quo ante” on March 19, 2014.
The SC status quo ante order caused, among others, the delay in the procurement of commodities needed in order to upscale existing responsible parenthood and reproductive health services.
“The estimated 15,000 births every month in the Yolanda-affected areas of Regions 4B (Occidental and Oriental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan), Region 6 (Western Visayas), Region 7 (Central Visayas), and Region 8 (Eastern Visayas) showcases the urgent, imperative need for maternal, neonatal, and child health services,” Garin said.
“The Department of Health will ensure that all the provisions of The Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012 declared by the Supreme Court as not unconstitutional will be implemented. This is part of our mandate and mission in serving the Filipino people,” Garin said.
“We will make sure that the responsible parenthood and reproductive health services are incorporated in and implemented as a crucial component of the long-term rehabilitation and rebuilding efforts in the Yolanda-devastated areas. The responsible parenthood and reproductive health services are pivotal in the overall strategy of the national government to combat and reduce poverty,” Garin said.
The “Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program” (4Ps), led by the Department of Social Welfare and Development, provides health and education grants to poor families identified by the DSWD.
Among the key requirements that should be met fully to receive the monthly stipend under the 4Ps are school/re-school enrollment and attendance for children; regular preventive checkups and de-worming for children; prenatal care; and facility-based deliveries and post-natal care for pregnant women.
The 4Ps is a poverty reduction and social development program by the national government, which seeks to stop the inter-generational cycle of poverty. The provision of reproductive health and responsible parenthood services will complement the 4Ps strategy as it upholds the right of families to better health.