MANILA, Philippines – The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) has the lowest infant mortality rate in the Philippines, a health official said on Wednesday.
The region recorded 18 infant deaths for every 1,000 live births in 2011, according to ARMM health regional secretary Dr. Kadil Sinolinding, citing data from the Family Health Survey of the National Statistics Office (NSO).
Sinolinding said the low infant mortality rate in the region was due to the “intensified advocacy campaign among predominantly Muslim communities on the relevance of family planning during the past three years.”
Officials recognized the efforts of Muslim religious leaders in educating people through "Fatwah" or religious endorsement of the family planning program of the government.
Sinolinding noted that the region’s rate is lower than the United Nations Millenium Development Goals’ international standard of 19 deaths per 1,000 live births by the end of 2015.
With this development, Sinolinding said the DOH-ARMM expects a much lower rate of 15 deaths for every 1,000 births by 2015.
The regional health office also cited improved maternal and child services; intensified interventions in the third stage of labor among pregnant women; post natal care, immunization and exclusive breastfeeding vertically implemented from hospital to barangay health station; and increased access of people to health facilities as factors that helped in the reduction of infant mortality rate.
Officials also cited the help of international partners like the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). - report from the Philippine News Agency (PNA)