Iba, Zambales held its very first Buntis Party as part of the Department of Health’s movement towards its national goal to improve the health of women. 

“We already witnessed several parties here in Iba, celebrating different programs concerning health for elderly , youth, women and even men. This time, it focused of pregnant mothers, and it is a privilege to extend health service to them,” as stated by Dr. Raul Echipare, Municipal Health Officer (MHO) of Iba as he welcomed the pregnant mothers, guests, staff, and participants.

There were 60 pregnant women, six of them were aged 15 to 19, selected by seven midwives and NDP’s stationed in nine barangays on July 16, 2015 at 8:00am in Zambales Gymnasium, Zone 6 Iba.

Iba, Zambales Holds First Ever Buntis Party Under DOH
The said event was a program organized by the Department of Health in partnership with the Local Government Unit aiming to help in nurturing future mothers with knowledge they need during and after pregnancy. The event started at 8:00 wherein every participant enjoyed the free services offered by the Rural Health Unit (RHU) such as free assessment and consultation,  prenatal checkup, dental check up, and glucose monitoring. The main program started at 9:30 am with a doxology and singing of the national anthem. The inspirational message was delivered by Vice Mayor Benjamin Jun Farin Jr.

Afterwards, there were games and lectures on HIV during pregnancy, Responsableng Pagpapamilya, breastfeeding , and importance of the Facility Based Delivery through a video. The participants also joined in the B untis Pageant. Ten contestants represented each barangay showing their talents in singing, dancing, and even acting. Top 5 had been chosen and received prizes. The first ever Buntis Party Queen was crowned and the SB on Health Hon. Noel Sarmiento assured that this was the beginning of an annual event in Iba. The closing remarks was given by Midwife III, Josephine Encarnacion, emphasizing the importance of the facility based delivery and deliveries should be attended by trained health personnel.

The pregnant mothers went home with hygiene kits, recreational showcases, malaria package and more knowledge on the programs and services of the DOH for them.

DOH’s National Safe Motherhood Program

As part of the Philippine government’s goal to reduce ill health, poverty, and hunger, the DOH had chosen a challenging path to (combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, reduce child mortality and and improve maternal health. According to DOH, childbirth and pregnancy are among the leading causes of disability, disease and eventually death among women in reproductive age.

DOH embarked towards the goal of reducing maternal mortality ratios by three-quarters and under five mortality by two-thirds by 2015 at all cost. The health department admits that there are challenges to be faced, namely : unmet need of reproductive health services, weak maternal care delivery system, increased neonatal deaths and high maternal mortality.

Safe Motherhood Program had been created to focus on safer pregnancy and childbirth. Also, the DOH acknowledges that there is a need to change the fundamental dynamics in the society as it influences the decision making skills of the pregnant mothers concerning their health and childbirth.

The agency also pursues to make quality emergency obstetrics and newborn care facilities available and reachable to most Filipinos. This is to ensure successful and safe child delivery to most mothers.

Contributor: Eulyn Grace N. Dalusong
Eulyn was a Public Health Nurse 1 under Registered Nurse for Health Enhancement and Local Service (RNHEALS) project of DOH in 2014. She currently works as a Public Health Nurse 1 under the Nurse Deployment Program of the Department of Health Center for Health Development 3 (DOHCHD3) in Iba, Zambales.

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