A NONGOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATION for the protection of children says the Philippines has made significant gains in reducing child deaths in the country, but noted that the gains have not been equitable, and malnutrition was still “worryingly high.”
In its report, “Lives on the line,” the US-based group Save the Children noted that child mortality in the country has decreased significantly. The group lauded the Philippine government for “being on track” towards achieving the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goal 4 of reducing child deaths by two-thirds between 1990 and 2015.
However, the group says this gain may be compromised as the rate of chronic malnutrition among Filipino children under five years old “remains worryingly high.”
“One in every (three) Filipino children remains malnourished,” the Save the Children report, released Wednesday, reads in part.
Save the Children called on national government to:
- Publish and implement costed national health care plans that reach every child, including newborns, with the objective of reaching full coverage by 2030;
- Launch a national campaign to reduce malnutrition so that every child has the nutrition they need to survive and thrive;
- Increase public spending on health.
In the same report, Save the Children ranked the Philippines 31 out of 34 on the “Every One” Index. This index ranks countries based on reduction in child deaths, equity and sustainability.
“At the current rate of 1-in-33 children dying before their fifth birthday, the Philippines is closing in on their target of 1-in-38 by 2015,” the report states.
Save the Children’s report looked into how 74 key countries that account for nearly all maternal and child deaths are progressing towards the United Nations’ Millenium Development Goal on child mortality.
“We are making historic gains in the fight against child deaths but this headline success also often masks the fact that children living in rural, remote and urban slum areas are being left behind and, in extreme cases, are doing worse,” Anna Lindenfors, Save the Children Philippine Director, said.
Lindenfors added that the country “rates poorly on the equity, which covers wealth, gender and geographical equity in reducing child deaths.”
The report is unique in that it did not measure only at how quickly countries are in reducing child mortality, but if these countries are “equitable to its citizens–across different social, regional and income group–and is also sustainable, in terms of political will.”
For the first time, the research uncovers not just how quickly countries are reducing child mortality, but also whether progress is equitable – across different social, regional and income groups – and is also sustainable, in terms of political will.
“Leaders must ensure that children of all backgrounds have an equal chance to survive. Political leadership and investments in health care are crucial in making dramatic progress in ending preventable child deaths for good,” added Anna Lindenfors.
Save the Children is an independent organization advocating the rights of children in 120 countries worldwide. Last year, the organization was able to reach more than 560,000 Filipino children with its programs in health, nutrition, education, protection and child rights. Save the Children also launches relief operations during humanitarian crises.