We know what works, and how, but we need to do more to reach the most vulnerable. The UNICEF supports strategy supports the Government’s Universal Health Care Agenda and Poverty Reduction Initiatives to serve the poorest families and most vulnerable groups, particularly women and their new-born babies and beneficiaries of the conditional cash transfer programme. In line with UNICEF’s equity focus on regions identified by the government as the most disadvantaged, the programme will be implemented in areas that have the lowest number and coverage of health facilities and skilled birth attendance while nationally supporting the institutionalization of standards to improve the quality of services for mothers and children along the continuum of care.
By 2014, the UNICEF Health Programme seeks to increase the quality of care, coverage of births attended by skilled birth attendants, and attendants and the number of deliveries in health facilities facility-based deliveries with postnatal and neonatal care among mothers and new-born babies by 15 per cent in 20 identified vulnerable local government units (LGUs) and in urban poor settlements.
In line with UNICEF’s thrust to focus on regions identified by the government as the most disadvantaged, the programme will be implemented in the most vulnerable areas that have the lowest number and coverage of health facilities and skilled birth attendance.
To ensure that efforts can be sustained and scaled up UNICEF prioritizes fighting the illnesses and conditions that claim the most children’s lives. To accelerate progress and save far more lives, UNICEF will work mainly with local government units (LGUs) and advocate their efficient use of resources as primary agents of service delivery and systems building. To increase access to needed care, UNICEF works with LGUs in training health workers in the quality standard for delivery care known as “Unang Yakap;” empowering communities to participate in health decision making; espousing social health insurance accreditation of health facilities; improving health information systems through implementation of real time monitoring initiatives by use of mobile technology; supporting LGU leadership in health management and equity-focused, evidence-based planning and budgeting, and forging public-private partnerships on health initiatives for maternal and newborn care. In the end, LGUs will be supported to develop, strengthen and sustain a functional service delivery network for mothers and children.
To ensure that efforts can be sustained, UNICEF also works with national level partners to support the institutionalization of quality maternal and child standards, such as in its collaboration with nursing and midwifery schools all over the country. UNICEF partners with the Department of Health in the development of training modules, monitoring tools, and the LGU scorecard manual. Furthermore UNICEF supports the government of Philippines in generating and analysing decentralised health and nutrition information.
At present, the Department of Health procures all of the country’s vaccine requirements using the UNICEF procurement services facility. As the Philippines moves into the middle income country category, and has an adequate budget to buy its own supplies, UNICEF provides technical assistance in strengthening the building blocks of a sound health system for the country to be self-sufficient in its immunization program in a cost-effective manner, targeting the most crucial diseases affecting children. Logistics and supply management for national procurement of EPI vaccines and strengthening vaccine cold chain is continuously supported by UNICEF. The DOH-led national campaign for Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus Elimination by 2013 in high risk areas was fully supported by UNICEF.
Efforts will be made to enhance the capacity of health workers and public health professionals on decentralized level through equity focused, evidence based planning and budgeting support. Furthermore UNICEF supports the government of Philippines in generating and analysing decentralised health and nutrition information through implementation of real time monitoring initiatives by use of mobile technology.
The UNICEF strategy supports Government’s Universal Health Care Agenda and Poverty Reduction Initiatives to serve the poorest families and most vulnerable groups, women and their new-born babies/ young children/ beneficiaries of the conditional cash transfer programme.
To achieve the programme’s overall goal, the following activities will be pursued:
• Encourage LGUs to put children at the center of development. Under the Local Government Code of 1991, local government units (LGUs) are responsible for a wide range of health services, including maternal, neonatal, and child health and nutrition services. In addition, multi-sectoral collaboration will be enhanced, and the use of resources from other sectors and civil society organizations maximized.
• Develop and strengthen a functional maternal and neonatal health care service network. A functional health care service network must have strategic facilities with varied capacities that can adequately respond to the needs of the community and family. Further, competent and well-equipped health personnel and public health personnel should be deployed and supported with focus on the most vulnerable areas to ensure round-the-clock delivery of services.
The overall objective of the UNICEF Nutrition Programme is to improve child survival, growth and development and thus child survival through life-cycle nutrition security interventions. It seeks to address factors that contribute to the immediate and underlying cause of maternal and child under-nutrition. This will be achieved by establishing coordination with multi-sectorial partners for nutrition security, capacity building for parents, health personnel and the private sector to focus on child care, growth and development, and enabling an enabling environment in the community.
Specifically, it aims to increase access among pregnant and lactating women and children under 5 to nutrition interventions that prevent under-nutrition and micro-nutrient deficiencies, treat acute malnutrition and sustain positive nutrition behaviour in 20 vulnerable local government units (LGUs) by 2014. At the same time UNICEF supports the government of Philippines in promoting breast feeding and Young Child feeding practices.
In line with UNICEF’s focus on the most disadvantaged children, the programme will be implemented in the three regions in the country that have the highest stunting, anemia and poverty levels: Regions 5, 6, 8 and 9.
The programme is in line with current government efforts to fight under-nutrition. These include the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), a social protection and poverty reduction scheme that provides conditional cash grants to poor households.
The programme is coordinated works actively and directly with the National Nutrition Council, the highest coordinating and policy-making body for nutrition in the Philippines, together with a large number of government departments and agencies.
UNICEF will also complement the programme with its on-going joint programmes with other UN agencies and international institutions. These include the UN Millennium Development Achievement Fund Joint Program on Child Food Security and Nutrition; the UNICEF-European Union Maternal and Young Child Nutrition Security in Asia initiative; and the GAIN-UNICEF Salt Iodization Partnership.