The Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN) through the initiative of the Philippine Obstetrical and Gynecological Society (POGS) conducted recently the joint Buntis Congress and Buntis Day celebration held at the Centennial Arena, Laoag City.
Five hundred pregnant Ilocano women joined the program activities which included lectures on maternal health and simultaneous medical-dental checkups, consultations with obstetricians and gynecologists.
This year’s theme was “POGS Kabalikat ni Mommy para sa Malusog na Pagbubuntis.”
“We want to teach them how to take care of themselves, what they can do during the pre-natal period… that will guide them kung ano ang mga dapat gawin during pregnancy to give birth to a healthy baby,” said POGS President Dr. Mayumi S. Bismarck.
She pointed out that it is important the women consult OB-Gyn specialists “who are more at least knowledgeable on how to guide these women during pregnancy.”
Also partnering with POGS during the celebration were the Philippine Society of Pathologists, Red Cross, and the Association of Medical Technologists.
Doctors and medical technologists conducted free laboratory tests like complete blood count (CBC), urine analysis, and the taking of vital signs and body mass index (BMI) to determine if a pregnant woman is in good health.
Meanwhile, Governor Imee R. Marcos also disclosed about the province’s achievements on maternal health, mortality, and morbidity in line with the United Nations (UN) Millennium Development Goals (MDG) which concluded in 2015.
“Medyo naibagsak na iyon at walana halos ang nanganganak sa bahay… We are really pleased to welcome you so that we can continue to push this advocacy under the SDG now,” she said, referring to the new Sustainable Development Goals which replaced the MDG initiative.
Included among the 17 SDGs are the goals for good health and well-being, and for gender equality which both imply the need to improve the quality of healthcare for all ages and sexes throughout the world.
Governor Marcos personally urged the participants, “Kailangan, mauna kayo sa lahat ng bagay,” mentioning women’s tendencies to put others’ needs before their own, even when pregnant.
Dr. Bismarck also thanked her and PGIN, “Maraming-maraming salamat for accommodating us and for giving us support to hold this for the pregnant women.”
Extended maternity leave, teenage pregnancy among pressing issues for women nationwide
On Senate Bill (SB) 1305 which extends paid maternity leave to 120 days (four months) for Filipino mothers, former POGS President Dr. Rosendo R. Roque maintained that while newborn babies indeed require full attention of the mother, they cannot deny that “it will definitely affect the operation of some businesses, so maraming komplikasyon.”
Mrs. Nelinda Erice, head of the Provincial Gender and Development (GAD) Office, said that in Ilocos Norte, “women are not being left in the home,” pointing out that there are only a few sectors left that are dominated by male workers.
Nevertheless, Dr. Bismarck said that SB 1305 is especially helpful to single mothers.
“Napakasaya nga at sa wakas ipinasana ang extension ng maternity leave,” said Governor Marcos, saying that she had fully endorsed and supported this as she herself, as a mother, knows the importance of undivided care particularly during early infancy.
Moreover, Dr. Roque highlighted POGS’ advocacy, Adolescent Health Issues and Perspectives, which aim to educate both students and their parents on the dangers of teenage pregnancy and early sexual exposure.
Likewise, included in Ilocos Norte’s Women’s Month celebration was the self-defense training for Grades 10 and 11 students last March 6-7 and the upcoming Women’s Fora on March 14-22 which address teenage pregnancy as well as rape and sexual harassment.—(Mizpah Grace G. Castro, PGIN-CMO)