10 May 2021 – Local health authorities raised concern over the sudden increase in maternal mortality in the city during the COVID-19 pandemic.

City Health Officer Dr. Rowena Galpo stated that maternal mortality rate for the past years had been increasing but a sudden increase from 45.19 percent in 2019 to 67.65 percent in 2020 is alarming that warrants the implementation of timely interventions from health workers.

She said one of the reasons for the sudden increase in maternal mortality in the city is the alleged fear among pregnant women of going out for consultation in health facilities, especially in hospitals, because of the surge in COVID cases since last year.

At present, the city has two licensed birthing facilities located at the Atok Trail District health Center and Irisan Health Center, while the Pinsao, Pacdal, Atab and Loakan health centers are on deck for licensing.

On the other hand, the city health officer reported that modern contraceptive prevalence rate in the city increased from a low of 13 percent in 2019 to 21 percent last year against the target of 27 percent.

According to her, the increase in maternal mortality rate in the city could be primarily attributed to the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) status that prevented the people from gong to the nearest health facilities and seeking advise for their medical needs.

The medical officer urged pregnant women to continue seeking the appropriate medical advise from the nearest health facilities to prevent maternal mortality and with the easing up of the prevailing community quarantine guidelines.

Galpo emphasized that access to basic health services is a human right and its effective and efficient delivery is the mandate of the health workers and as the world continues to hurdle the trials from the ongoing pandemic, there is no stopping in the delivery of quality health care services.

However, she admitted that health workers can only do so much and that their appeal is for all residents to protect themselves for them to be protected from contracting the deadly virus.

She reminded the people that as they continue to provide selfless care, they must also make available time for self-care for their own health and safety, as well as that of the public.

Despite the enormous task assigned to them during the various levels of community quarantine for over a year now, Galpo asserted that health workers performed their other duties and responsibilities to the fullest. – Dexter A. See