MANILA – Mothers with premature and small newborn babies will soon be able to avail of a new government benefit package meant to ensure the health of their children.
By the end of the year, mothers of prematurely born and small babies who are members of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) will be able to avail of a benefit package which covers a broad range of interventions, including management of preterm labor to addressing severe complications of prematurity and low birth weight.
PhilHealth members can avail of the package at selected government and private tertiary health facilities.
"This landmark benefit…addresses the problem of prematurity and low birth weight from the primary care to the tertiary level,” said PhilHealth President Ramon Aristoza.
World Health Organization country representative Dr. Gundo Weiler said the package will help the Philippines lower the number of newborn deaths, which are most often caused by preterm births and low birth weight.
In the Philippines, almost half of children who die before their fifth birthday are newborns, the Department of Health said. Of this number, almost 60 percent die due to complications of prematurity and low birth weight.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) provided the DOH and PhilHealth with technical assistance to craft the benefit package.