Maternal Health in the Philippines, Looking Beyond Cash Transfers

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IRIN Humanitarian News and Analysis published a story today, PHILIPPINES: Conditional cash for better maternal health, about the role of conditional cash transfers (CCT) to incentivize women in the Philippines to access maternal health services. The story points out that while CCTs play an important role, they do not solve all of the maternal health challenges that women face in the Philippines. Access to contraception remains a major problem for many women.

From the story:

Perla Maribel Diotor, 36, a CCT beneficiary who lives in Baseco, one of the biggest slum communities in Manila, the capital, gave up paid employment when she became pregnant with her first child, now five children ago. She said the programme had helped her in the two years since she joined.

Her husband works “occasionally”, doing construction work, fishing or “whatever job is available”. On some days, he brings home the equivalent of $2. “I only wanted three kids, but I kept getting pregnant,” Diotor said.

The World Bank estimates that 22 percent of women of reproductive age in the Philippines (about six million) do not have access to contraception.

According to the 2008 National Demographic Health Survey (NDHS), women surveyed reported wanting 2.4 children, but had on average 3.3 each.

Until late 2011, the distribution of modern contraceptives was banned at public health clinics in Manila. The city government now allows it if the contraceptives are donated by development groups and NGOs, but has not used its own funds for contraception.

Diotor and others like her have had to find contraception on their own, usually going to NGOs, where the supply is often erratic and insufficient.

Read the full story here.