Inter Pares appreciates Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s visit to an innovative clinic established and operated by our long-term counterpart, Likhaan Center for Women’s Health. This clinic is part of a Global Affairs Canada/Inter Pares-supported program called “Innovations to Reduce Maternal Mortality in the Philippines,” that benefits poor communities in typhoon-ravaged Eastern Samar and three urban slum communities in Metro Manila. Maternal mortality in the Philippines remains amongst the highest in SE Asia at 114 deaths/100,000 live births. Note that Canada has a rate of 7 deaths/100,000 live births.
The four year program began in 2016, with a mandate to establish four reproductive health clinics; improve the delivery of basic maternal, newborn and child health services; increase the accessibility of family planning options; expand access to the national health insurance program and other programs benefiting marginalized women; and raise community awareness of safe motherhood practices, and reproductive and sexual health.
The Prime Minister visited the Zaragosa Clinic, which opened in March 2017, and has been providing free contraceptive services, pre- and post-natal care and birthing services, as well as community health promotion. This clinic is part of Likhaan’s comprehensive program designed to integrate three important pillars: community organizing, advocacy and services. A particularly innovative component of this program involves increasing poor people’s access to PhilHealth, a national health insurance program. When this funding ends in 2020, Canada will have established birthing clinics and women’s health centres that will be both models of care and self-financing.
This program combines the very best in community health education and clinical services in order to improve the lives of women and their families in some of the most marginalized communities in the Philippines, and Inter Pares is pleased that the Prime Minister could visit it.