There is the recognition of the need to strengthen Family Planning, Maternal and Child Health and Nutrition Programs. Local Government Performance Program (LPP) has been designed by the Department of Health Ã¢â‚¬" Office of Public Health Services (OPHS) to motivate the Local Government Units (LGUs) in attaining this. This year, the Province of Abra has joined the number of municipalities enrolled in this program and started through the establishment of its baseline data on different figures pertaining to the said health programs through the Multi Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) undertaken by the UP College Baguio Cordillera Studies Center as its partner research institution.
Baseline Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (CPR) for currently married women 1549 years of age is 62.11 %. This figure is higher than the 1997 national figure based from the average of the various CPRs taken through LPP MICS nationwide. Contraceptives are used from 15 years old until age 44 but most common between - ages 25-29 years old and 35-39 years old. Pill is the most commonly used method, 29.28%, followed by withdrawal (18.87%). Major source of contraceptive services is the public sector.
FIC coverage for the province is lower than the national figure, 62.47% against 80.1%. OPV3 and DPT3 coverage are unexpectedly low, 74.19% and 78.60% respectively. Health workers who were interviewed remarked that there was a time when both OPV3 and DPT3 were not available. The major reason, for their children not having completed their immunization was that the mother was too busy and had no time to bring the child to the center (14.94%).
The total tetanus toxoid 2 plus coverage for Abra reflects the same trend with the FIC coverage. TT2+ coverage is 69.57% compared with the national figure of 75.0%. Because of this, more than one third of the reference children of the respondents are not protected from neonatal tetanus at birth. A big percentage of their reasons for not having had their tetanus toxoid shots was because they were not informed by their private obstetricians that there was a need to have themselves by vaccinated with the toxoid for their own and their children's protection, 42.32%. Also another reason with a high percentage is that they never had a pre-natal check up, 14.68%.
The coverage of Vitamin A supplementation for the province is high. For every 10 children, there were 8 who were covered by the program. This can be attributed to the extensive efforts of the health workers in distributing the micronutrient to their target clients. This was easy because the packaging of the Vitamin A supplement is not easily perishable.
However, this result is not highly reliable. When respondents were asked if their children were given Vitamin A supplementation in the past six months or eight months, many could not recall being given such. In most clusters where data collection took place, this supplement was given a day ago or on the day of the interview.
Awareness of iodized salt is very high (96.45%) but utilization is not as high (19.35%). Moreover, only 7.85% of the households had salt positive for iodine/iodide. Source of knowledge regarding iodized salt is highest from health workers (58.66%). But then, knowledge on the benefits from using iodized salt is quite limited to its anti-goiter effect. A notable factor for this is because most household use "bagoong" in cooking.
About 25 percent of the total respondents have had pre-natal check ups more than seven times. The doctor or the physician is the most common person sought for pre-natal needs followed by the midwife especially in barangays and municipalities where they do not have doctors and nurses, 52.40% and 31.54%. Half of the total respondents have received iodine capsules and almost eighty percent had taken in iron supplements during the duration of their recent pregnancies
The incidence of acute respiratory infections is high evidenced by the high 44.43% of the children who had cough incidence in the immediate two weeks prior to - the day of data collection. Of those who had difficult breathing, only more than sixty percent sought consultation.
Diarrhea incidence is low. In most cases, the mothers claimed that their children have eaten fruits and that the episodes of diarrhea were of short duration. It is good to note that. Breast feeding is still given much importance and is well promoted among mothers as evidenced by the greater percent of mothers who continue to breastfed their children during episodes of diarrhea.
For both ARI and CDD cases, respondents prefer to seek consultations from the public sector. It was only in Bangued where percentage of consultations from the private sector was almost the same with the public sector.
These results challenge the LGU of Abra and its health department. Stronger collaborative efforts must be forged within and among their different agencies. There is also a need to improve access to care using strategies that are efficient and effective in response to the meager health budget.
These challenges can be met only when health is brought as a political agenda not only at the local level but at the national level as well. A breakthrough in political will in this aspect has been left wanting. Maximizing health as a development issue has yet to be realized.