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IRIN Examines Conditional Cash Transfer Program Aimed At improving Maternal Health In The Philippines

“A nationwide conditional cash transfer program in the Philippines is slowly improving maternal health, but more is needed to reverse the climbing maternal mortality ratio, say women’s groups,” IRIN reports. “Known locally as ‘Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program’ (4Ps), five-year conditional cash transfers (CCTs) were first rolled out in 2007 as a pilot program to cut poverty,” the news service writes, adding, “Now, with a budget of $227 million, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) aims to make CCTs available to 5.2 million eligible households by 2015.”

“The 4Ps identified 5.2 million of the poorest households with pregnant women and children aged 0-14, three million of which have been receiving cash grants since April 2012. In exchange, beneficiaries must meet certain health and education goals,” IRIN notes. But “[i]nterventions made when a woman is already pregnant are already too late,” Junice Melgar, executive director of Likhaan Centre for Women’s Health, said, IRIN writes. The news service discusses issues surrounding access to contraception in the country. “The maternal mortality ratio (MMR) in the Philippines has jumped by 35 percent, from 162 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2006 to 221 in 2011, according to the 2011 Family Planning Survey,” the news service writes, noting, “The current government recently approved the purchase of $12 million in family planning commodities in an attempt to counter rising maternal deaths” (8/2).