Introduction: "It is imperative to look at women's health within a life span perspective. This is because the health of a woman in one period of her life has an impact not only on health in subsequent periods, but on generations to come." WHO, 1994.
Health status is a reflection of the successes and failures of development. Good health indicators are the outcome of a combination of factors: biological, genetic, environmental and socio-economic. The enjoyment of a health status that enables an individual to lead an economically and socially productive life means that this individual not only has benefited from the availability of goods and services, but also has acquired the information and behavior patterns that contribute to improving and protecting his/her health condition (WHO 1994).
This is reflected in the five basic principles that form the basis for a comprehensive public health policy as claimed by Armstrong (1998) namely: public administration, comprehensiveness, universality,portability and accessibility. Public administration avoids the profiteering of companies; comprehensiveness means all necessary services are covered; universality means everyone in a community is covered; portability means that people are free to go where they want because coverage is guaranteed; and accessibility means freedom from economic, geographic, bureaucratic and gender barriers to health care.
Accordingly, these principles reflect the political and economic nature of health, as such, social hierarchies affect who gets sick and the consequences of such conditions, including the effects of accessing and not accessing health care (Baume, Juarez and Standing, 2001). It is thus important that government officials through the policies they make, attempt to ensure greater human well-being by tackling these social inequalities.
In addressing health problems, a human development approach holds all sectors responsible for protecting and promoting individuals' health. Likewise that all public health improvements require substantial changes in the wider maco-environmental, socio-economic, political and cultural context. Therefore, the health status as reflected in the health indicators are particularly relevant to assess changes in life improvement and the status especially of marginalized groups.Given the present emphasis on poor and marginalized populations, girls and women, (in these case, indigenous girls and women) are significant target group. In developing countries like the Philippines, they are among the most vulnerable and disadvantaged. The emergence of gender sensitive indicators point out changes in the status and roles of women and men from a given society over time, in order to improve gender equality. Gender and health indicators can help to address gender differentials in health and the underlying factors as well as problems specific to women(Baume et al., 2001). The importance of the MICS Survey, thus comes to fore.
BACKGROUND: The 2000 Enumerator's Manual on the Multiple Indicator Survey on pages 1-2 states:
During the World summit for children 10 years ago in New York, heads of state and senior officials agreed to a plan of action
to achieve a set of goals to improve the health and well being of children and women by the year 2000. As a step towards achieving these goals, countries developed National Programs of Action which require accurate and up to date data. Although countries carry out censuses and household surveys, these data collection activities are often expensive, cumbersome, and can take considerable time to yield results. UNICEF took the lead in finding a cost-effective solution,the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS).
MICS is based on cluster sampling, which survey groups of geographically scattered households to give results that are representative of the country as a whole or of a particular province or city. Cluster sampling reduces travel expenses - a key to cost effectiveness.
Two national MICS were already conducted, one in 1996 and another in 1999 by the National Statistics Office, this year, a sub-national MICS is being planned to cover the 20 provinces and 5 cities under the Fifth Country Program for children (CPC V). CPC V is a program of cooperation between the Government of the Philippines and the UNICEF in the fulfillment of the vision for the Filipino child. The main objective of the sub-national MICS is to provide baseline information on the situation of children and women in the provinces and cities under CPC V. It also aims to validate the data obtained at the national level in the 1999 national MICS.
The sub-national MICS will be patterned after the 1999 national MICS and is designed to gather information on the health of Filipino children below five years old and basic education of children 3 to 17 years old. It aims to gather pertinent data on health practices of Filipino women during and after pregnancy, HIV/AIDS awareness, and the extent of birth registration of Filipino children.
The results that will be obtained from the sub-national MICS will be useful in planning, M&E, project implementation, advocacy, resource mobilization and reporting. The measures of the goal indicators may be used to reinforce programs and local plans of actions where necessary, and to help policy makers take action that will build and sustain progress.
The MICS results are expected to benefit the local chief executives, members of Sangguniang Panglalawigan and Panglungsod, donors, program managers and planners, program implementers/ service providers and monitors, trainers, researchers, and other stakeholders.
OBJECTIVES: The MICS 2000 Enumerator's Manual further states on pages 2-3 that "the overall objective is to assess the current situation of Filipino Children and women in terms of selected indicators." The survey aimed "to generate provincial/city level data on selected child and women indicators to guide the local government units in the planning,monitoring, implementation and evaluation of CPC V and other programs for children, the survey results are also intended to be used for policy advocacy,resource generation and reporting on the achievement of goals for children and women."Specifically, the survey aimed to produce accurate and up-to-date data. on the following:
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Maternal and infant health
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Vitamin A supplementation
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Salt Iodization
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Care of Cough and Weight Monitoring -
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ HIV/AIDS awareness
. Rights of Children
. Birth Registration
. Working Children