Press Release
March 4, 2018

Prioritize women's health on Women's Month

The Senate is set to approve on third and final reading a bill that seeks to improve the health and nutritional status of pregnant women and of children from 0 to 2 years old to ensure growth and development of young children.

Senate Bill 1537 or the Healthy Nanay and Bulilit Act, also known as the First 1,000 Days Act, seeks to scale up nutrition intervention programs in the first 1,000 days of life, which covers the nine months of pregnancy and a child's first two years.

"As we celebrate National Women's Month, we call for support for the passage of this bill that ultimately aims to improve health and nutrition of mothers and children, reduce malnutrition, and end hunger. Panahon na para ibigay natin sakanila ang wagas na pag-aarugang tulad ng ibinibigay ng isang ina sa kanyang anak," said Senator Sonny Angara, principal author of the bill.

In 2015, the World Health Organization reported that every day, about 800 women die around the world due to complications of pregnancy and childbirth that could have been prevented.

The same study showed a big gap in maternal and neonatal mortality between rich and poor households.

Under the proposed measure, the First 1,000 Days program includes proper nutrition for pregnant mothers, improved breastfeeding, protection against diseases, and proper feeding of children.

It also provides for immunizations, micronutrient supplements, check ups, and monitoring systems for both mothers and children.

The program shall prioritize poor families identified by the National Household Targeting System, urban and rural populations who reside in disaster-prone areas, areas with high prevalence of undernutrition, and hazard/conflict-prone areas.

It shall be implemented at the barangay level through the rural health units and barangay health centers.

"Such measure would boost maternal and child health and nutrition that would provide a pathway to good education, decent jobs, and out of poverty. This would lay the proper foundation for the country's growth and development," Angara said.

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