The Philippines is a mostly rural country made up of more than 7,000 islands, 11 of which are home to the majority of the nation’s 95 million people. Geographic barriers impede access to health clinics and hospitals, and these barriers are compounded by a lack of awareness about reproductive health services.
Yet change is underway. After more than a decade of debate, due to political and religious opposition, the Filipino government passed a landmark reproductive health bill in 2012. Its goal is to achieve universal access to family planning and reproductive health information and services.
EngenderHealth has a history of strengthening maternal and child health care in the Philippines dating back to 1973. Our current work is based in the Visayas region of the Philippines, where nearly 2 million women and girls have unintended pregnancies each year. In partnership with local health organizations, EngenderHealth is empowering Visayan men, women, and adolescents to plan their families and enjoy safe motherhood, while ensuring that each baby starts life with proper nutrition and good health.
By 2017, EngenderHealth aims to provide 6.5 million women with access to family planning, which will help to avert nearly 5 million unintended pregnancies. To do so, we are working to close the gap between women’s need for contraception and their ability to obtain it, by:
- improving health systems
- training health care providers
- remedying supply shortages
- addressing gender and community norms that discourage use of family planning
In order to ensure safe pregnancies and deliveries, and healthy babies, EngenderHealth is also increasing antenatal care coverage, expanding access to skilled providers during childbirth, emphasizing exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months, and ensuring children receive vaccines and nutritional supplements.