09/01/2011, 00.00
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Maternal deaths decline in Philippines without birth controls

Deaths dropped by 81 per cent between 1980 and 2008. Data contradict abortion and reproductive health bill supporters. For years, international agencies and media used figures considered out of date by the institutions that collected them.
Manila (AsiaNews/ Agencies) – The Philippines are winning the battle against maternal deaths even without any reproductive health law. Recent studies released by the government and major research institutes show a marked decline in maternal deaths, contradicting old data used by birth control supporters.

A study in 181 countries by a group of researchers, mostly from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation of the University of Washington in Seattle, found that the maternal mortality rate (number of deaths per 100,000 or MMR) dropped by 81 per cent in the Philippines between 1980 and 2008.

The results indicate that the Philippines did a better job of reducing maternal deaths than richer countries like Germany, Russia and Israel.

The study appears in an article published by the respected journal The Lancet, which used data collected over many years.

The Philippines’ own National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) found a similar trend. In the period 1990 to 2010, the daily MMR declined by 21 per cent.

The World Health Organisation also found that the Filipino MMR dropped by 48 per cent between 1990 and 2008.

The data also show that the daily MMR dropped to about four a day, far below the 11 deaths a day claimed by pro-abortion associations, media and international agencies that use pregnancy’s inherent dangers to promote birth controls.

For years, backers of the proposed reproductive health bill relied on a 2004 study (based on data from 2000) by the World Health Organisation and UNICEF.

However, “The margins of uncertainty associated with the estimated MMRs are very large, and the estimates should not, therefore, be used to monitor trends in the short term. In addition, cross country comparisons should be treated with considerable circumspection because different strategies have been used to derive the estimates for different countries, making it difficult to draw comparisons,” the 2004 report said.
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