UNICEF addressed infant and maternal mortality in the Philippines by increasing access to deliveries that are attended by a skilled birth attendant and in safe health facilities. UNICEF support resulted in through the following:
• 166 per cent increase in Philhealth-accredited health facilities in target provinces;
Additionally, UNICEF also continues to support the Department of Health (DOH) in tackling vaccine preventable diseases:
• Department of Health procures all of the country’s vaccine requirements using the UNICEF procurement services facility
Additionally, UNICEF’s advocacy culminated in the enactment of the Expanded Breastfeeding Promotion Act in 2011.
On national level, several bottlenecks have been addressed through advocacy efforts. For instance together with UN partners UNICEF took action in safeguarding the Philippines Milk Code, and issued a strong statement of support for the passage of the “Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012.” Together with USAID, UNICEF advocated for the Government of Philippines’ commitment to the recently launched A Promise Renewed initiative to combat the top preventable causes of child mortality.
UNICEF has addressed under-nutrition among young children and pregnant women in the Philippines by supporting the following:
1. Development of nutrition-sensitive policies/ increasing nutrition awareness
Advocacy for optimum infant and young child feeding (IYCF), which culminated in the passing in 2011 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations for Republic Act No. 10028 (Expanded Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2009), which includes provisions for the establishment of lactation stations in public and private institutions, and to include IYCF in school curriculum.
2. Capacity building of government and partners
The objective was to address maternal and child under-nutrition, with strong equity-focused community participation. Harmonized training tools and guidelines were also developed for essential nutrition interventions.
3. Data analysis and knowledge sharing
Strong information management systems were put in place to effectively monitor nutrition status and trends.
4. Scaling-up equity-focused interventions
• Reduction of the risk to iron deficiency through provision of iron folate tablets, in collaboration with the Department of Health (DOH);
• Institutionalization of Iodine Deficiency Disorders (IDD) prevention in the basic education sector through inclusion of IDD and Universal Salt Iodization Modules lesson plans in the basic elementary school curriculum, initially in 1000 schools nationwide;
• Advocacy and promotion of Iron Fortified Rice in Regions 5, 6, 8 and 9 that resulted in increased distribution of fortified rice; and
• Community-based management of acute malnutrition, in partnership with DOH for conflict-affected Central Mindanao.
5. Successful preparedness and response to emergencies
This was achieved through pre-positioning of essential nutrition therapeutic supplies, integrated management of severe acute malnutrition, IYCF and Milk Code protection and promotion, and micronutrient supplementation, in collaboration with DOH and national and local Nutrition partners.