[Statement] Doctors, Nurses and Midwives Rally Behind RH Provisions

Doctors, Nurses and Midwives Rally Behind RH Provisions

Purple-Ribbon-Logo_RH-NOW-560x47111 December, Manila – In a timely, humane and compassionate manner, 100,000 doctors and nurses, and 167,000 midwives represented by twenty-three (23) health care professional organizations finally showed their in support for the reproductive health bill in a press conference at the Philippine General Hospital today.

“We can no longer turn a blind eye because we are part of the life-saving solution,” said Philippine Medical Association (PMA), “As health care providers we simply cannot be reduced to being for or against the bill because our obligation has and will always be about saving lives, and the longer we stay quiet, the more lives are lost.”

The group presented a manifesto calling for the protection of seven (7) life-giving provisions –

1. That the State protect the individual’s freedom to decide what family planning method s/he wants to use (whether natural or artificial).

2. That the Bill should have explicit statements against induced abortion.

3. That the State should protect the couple’s right to decide on their ideal family size.

4. That the State should recognize and respect religious rights and convictions of both patients and caregivers.

5. That RH education should include value formation, and be age-appropriate.

6. That the provision for reproductive health services be improved.

7. That guidelines on use of specific contraceptives, including warnings on safety should be left to the discretion of the FDA. This will allow recommendations to evolve as scientific knowledge advances.

Both the House of Representatives and Senate are expected to vote on measure within the week.

The manifesto signing was led by the Philippine Medical Association. The other signatories were Former Department of Health (DOH) Secretaries Dr. Alberto Romualdez and Dr. Esperanza Cabral, Former Philippine Medical Association (PMA) President Dr. Santiago del Rosario, Philippine Medical Association (PMA), Philippine Obstetrical and Gynecological Society (POGS), Philippine Society of Newborn Medicine (PSNbM), Integrated Midwives Association of the Philippines (IMAP), Kalusugan ng Mag-Ina, Inc. (KMI), National Center for Disease Prevention and Control, Department of Health, Philippine College of Physicians (PCP), Philippine Society of General Internal Medicine (PSGIM), Philippine Society for Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (PSMID), UP School of Health Sciences, Palo, Leyte, Philippine Ambulatory Pediatric Association, UP Manila College of Nursing, Ortoll Reproductive Primary Health Care Center, University of the Philippines Manila, Philippine Society of Hypertension, Child Protection Unit, Philippine General Hospital, National Institute of Health, Philippine Family Planning Consortium, Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital, and Asia Pacific Center for Evidence Based Medicine.

We, the members of twenty-three (23) healthcare professional organizations representing 100,000 doctors and nurses, and 167,000 midwives, hereby declare that:

While the Philippines seems to be closing in on most of its Millennium Development Goals, it will miss its targets for two most vulnerable groups, mothers and newborns. Each year, an estimated 4000 thousand mothers and 40,000 thousand newborns die, mostly amongst the poor urban and rural communities. These are indisputable scientific facts and, as healthcare professionals responsible for these patients, we cannot turn a blind eye to their plight.

While we agree that there are other ways to reduce these deaths, we believe that the Reproductive Health Bill can accelerate our progress towards these goals. In this pursuit, we should protect the following key provisions:

1. That the State protect the individual’s freedom to decide what family planning method s/he wants to use (whether natural or artificial).

2. That the Bill should have explicit statements against induced abortion.

3. That the State should protect the couple’s right to decide on their ideal family size.

4. That the State should recognize and respect religious rights and convictions of both patients and caregivers.

5. That RH education should include value formation, and be age-appropriate.

6. That the provision for reproductive health services be improved.

7. That guidelines on use of specific contraceptives, including warnings on safety should be left to the discretion of the FDA. This will allow recommendations to evolve as scientific knowledge advances.

We believe that by protecting these key provisions, our legislators will be able to craft an RH Bill that is beneficial to the greater majority, and especially the poor and underprivileged. ”

Signed:
1 Dr. Alberto Romualdez, Former Department of Health (DOH) Secretary
2 Dr. Esperanza Cabral, Former Department of Health (DOH) Secretary
3 Dr. Santiago del Rosario, Former PMA President
4 Philippine Medical Association (PMA)
5 Philippine Obstetrical and Gynecological Society (POGS)
6 Philippine Society of Newborn Medicine (PSNbM)
7 Integrated Midwives Association of the Philippines (IMAP)
8 Kalusugan ng Mag-Ina, Inc. (KMI)
9 National Center for Disease Prevention and Control, Department of Health
10 Philippine College of Physicians (PCP)
11 Philippine Society of General Internal Medicine (PSGIM)
12 Philippine Society for Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (PSMID)
13 UP School of Health Sciences, Palo, Leyte
14 Philippine Ambulatory Pediatric Association
15 UP Manila College of Nursing
16 Ortoll Reproductive Primary Health Care Center
17 University of the Philippines Manila
18 Philippine Society of Hypertension
19 Child Protection Unit, Philippine General Hospital
20 National Institute of Health
21 Philippine Family Planning Consortium
22 Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital
23 Asia Pacific Center for Evidence Based Medicine

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