UNICEF calls for concerted efforts to educate children and save mothers
MANILA (PNA) -- To draw attention to the Millennium Development Goals
(MDGs), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the United Nation
(UN) children's agency, joins the UN Millennium Campaign's Stand Up
and Take Action on October 17-19.
"UNICEF calls on all sectors to band together to bring a future full
of promise to children around the world. Ensuring that children,
especially the most marginalized and disadvantaged, have access to
proper education and mothers are given adequate care not only make for
better communities, but are also inextricably linked to achieving the
other MDGs," Vanessa Tobin, UNICEF Representative, said.
Tobin said the eight MDGs include: eradicate extreme poverty and
hunger; achieve universal primary education; promote gender equality
and empower women; reduce child mortality; improve maternal health;
combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; ensure environmental
sustainability; and develop global partnership for development.
In December 2000, world leaders from 191 member- countries of the UN
adopted the Millennium Declaration to end extreme poverty. From this
declaration came a set of eight time-bound goals called the MDGs which
encapsulates the world's development aspirations by the target date of
As the target date of 2015 fast approaches, UNICEF calls on world
leaders in the Philippines to work towards fulfillment of the goals,
especially on MDG 2 (Achieve Universal Primary Education) and MDG 5
(Improve Maternal Health). These are two of the goals least likely to
be achieved in the Philippines.
Achieving universal primary education in the country remains a
challenge, with 1.9 million children aged 6-11 who are not in school.
For every 100 children who enter Grade 1, only 68 eventually finish
Studies reveal that the country is moving away from the targets
largely because of consequences of poverty such as unaffordable
incidental costs of education, need for children to work and/or take
care of younger siblings, ill-health, under-nutrition and poor school
The other causes include the unabated increase in population and
underinvestment in basic education which translates to, among other
things, lack of classrooms, water and sanitation facilities, teachers,
textbooks and health and nutrition services.
On the issue of maternal health, the Philippines is among 68 countries
which contributed to 97 percent of maternal, neonatal and child health
Around 11 Filipino mothers die everyday mostly from severe hemorrhage,
hypertensive disorders, sepsis and problems related to obstructed
labor abortion. This is because the public reproductive health service
is not comprehensive enough, too few mothers receive skilled care
before, during, and after pregnancy and, lastly, most mothers do not
always have access to quality emergency obstetric care services. (PNA)