Public-private summit concludes in Manila: No women should die giving birth

Last Friday, I watched governors and business leaders in the Philippines stand up and commit their support to scaling up innovative public-private collaborations to reduce maternal mortality throughout this archipelago country. CHMI's partner organization in the country, the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) had brought four notable CHMI-profiled programs to exhibit here, raising awareness about the promising innovations they represent and inviting governors and private sector representatives to pledge their support for these and other initiatives. The 162-52 Summit was a very cool event. An initiative of a multi-sectoral coalition that formed after the Zuellig Family Foundation’s Third Health Outlook Forum held last December, the health summit was intended to raise awareness about maternal health issues. The numbers 162 and 52 refer to the maternal mortality ratios of the country, the former being the 2008 official figure while the latter is the 2015 Millennium Development Goal target which, at the rate things are going, the country might not be able to attain. Over 200 people attended the summit, held at the Philippine International Convention Center, including Health Secretary Enrique Ona, who delivered the speech of President Benigno Aquino III. Dr. Enrique Ona, Secretary of the department of Health in the Philippines talks in this video about the commitment of the country's public and private leaders to reducing maternal mortality.

The video below introduces one promising public-private collaboration, the Mother Bles Birthing Clinics, which provide poor women in the Philippines with clean, safe environment to deliver babies under good professional care through a socialized financing scheme. Private practicing midwives are the core professional service providers of the network, which is owned and operated by KAKAK Foundation, a nongovernmental organization started by the Leyte governor Petilla and Eloisa David. Governor Petilla's foundation runs 30 clinics in 3 remote provinces of the Philippines (Leyte, Samar, and North Samar) that are accredited by PhilHealth to provide safe birthing facilities for women. The clinics also provide prenatal care, family planning, and other related services.

Among the four CHMI-profiled programs exhibiting in the marketplace were Wireless Access for Health, CHITS, Botika ng Bayan and Well-Family Midwife Clinic. Two of these programs, CHITS and Wireless Access for Health, represent better ways to organize data using information technology. Better data management was a central theme of the event, noted by a leading business newspaper in the country, Business World. Health Secretary Ona stressed that "It’s very important to understand and to know where we are today," he said. "The status of the data must be very, very current so we could conduct proper intervention." Videos below describe recent progress by Wireless Access for Health improve its operations and scale up to all rural health units in the province of Tarlac, with increasing proportion of funding coming from the provincial government. The program is an electronic health system which enables reliable health data transmission for speeder decision-making and action.

To learn about the province's commitment watch the second video:

The 162-52 Coalition is headed by the Department of Health. Other members include League of Provinces of the Philippines, Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines, Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), ZFF, Ayala TBI/ACCESS Health Philippines, Sanofi-Aventis Philippines, Unang Yakap through World Health Organization-WPRO, United Nations Population Fund, Smart Communications Inc, Macare Medicals Inc. and Chamber of Mines.