The Davao City Health Office (CHO), through its Safe Motherhood and Family Planning Program, is ramping up measures to reduce the risk of childbirth for pregnant women.

The CHO recorded an alarming 25 maternal deaths last year, and logged another five this year for January alone.

Safe Motherhood and Family Planning Program Manager Judy Jen Gornes, during the I-Speak Media Forum on Thursday, said their office is enhancing its campaign to compel pregnant women to avail themselves of the CHO’s various pre-natal care services in all health centers in the city.

The health office will also be keeping closer watch on the population of pregnant women in the city with the help of Barangay Health Workers (BHWs) and the Safe Motherhood and Family Planning Program’s pregnancy tracking tool.

“Kada BHW naa na silay purok na ginagunitan. Within that purok, dapat kabalo sila kung kinsa ang buntis didto. So isulat na nila sa ialng pregnancy tracking tool (Each BHW has a designated area of responsibility. They must know all the pregnant women within that area. That will write those down in their pregnancy tracking tool,” Gornes said.

Through the tracking tool, the BHWs will be able to see the number of pregnant women in their areas of responsibility as well as keep track of the number check-ups and pre-natal healthcare services they need to take based on their pregnancy calendar.

“Kana ilang pregnancy tracking tool, ihatag na nila sa ilang nurses sa ilang center so para naa silay lead kung kinsa ang mga buntis na dapat makita nila, ma-follow up nila (Their pregnancy tracking tool will be turned over to their nurses in their health center so they will know which pregnant women they will need to check up on and make follow-ups),” Gornes added.

Monitoring the early stages of a pregnancy to full term is necessary not only in maintaining the good health of both mother and child, but also to detect any signs of possible complications during childbirth.

“Kung makita nato’g sayo ang mga pasyente or mothers, for example, makita nila na ang expecting mother is advanced in age, kana siya kay high-risk na atong pasyente ana. So ilaha nang i-refer sa ilahang doctor (If we can take a look at the patient or mother early on, and for example we find out the expecting mother is advanced in age, they will be considered as high-risk. So they will be referred to a doctor),” said Gornes.

In the city, the most common complication for high-risk pregnancies is hypertension. Gornes said that a patient’s doctor must be made aware that a patient is hypertensive or has other comorbidities so that the necessary preparations can be made before delivery.

Davao City has birthing centers in Bunawan, Buhangin, Toril A, Marilog, and Paquibato with adequate facilities and trained midwives and nurses. However, high risk pregnancies, including teenage pregnancies, will not be catered in these birthing centers as these cases will be referred immediately for hospital delivery.

Gornes reminded all women that not only can they avail themselves of free pre-natal services in health centers, but also of the CHO’s pre-conception and post-partum care services in the nearest barangay or district health center. CIO