Casiguran, Sorsogon, Philippines — Sorsogon Province has taken a momentous step towards reducing maternal and newborn mortality rates with the unveiling of its groundbreaking healthcare bluebook titled “Primary Care Management and Algorithms of Common Emergency Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Cases in Sorsogon Province.” This significant event took place on August 30, 2023, at Residencia del Hamor in Casiguran, Sorsogon, gathering esteemed healthcare professionals, stakeholders, and partners.
“The publication of the healthcare bluebook is a pioneering effort that underscores Sorsogon Province’s dedication to reducing maternal and newborn mortality rates. Developed locally and informed by clinical practice guidelines in Obstetrics, this manual stands as the first of its kind, serving as an indispensable tool for healthcare providers to effectively manage emergency maternal cases,” said Dr. James Apin, President of the Association of Municipal Health Officers of the Philippines (Sorsogon Chapter) and Assistant CHO for Sorsogon City.
This achievement was made possible through the invaluable support of the MSD for Mothers Global Grant Program, within the project “Improving Quality of Maternal Health Care in Health Facilities in the Philippines” in Sorsogon. Working with 18 public and private health facilities, the MSD for Mothers Project has elevated emergency response capabilities and streamlined the referral process for maternal emergencies. This initiative aligns with the province’s commitment to implementing Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and focuses on enhancing maternal and newborn care, particularly in emergency situations.
“One of the key accomplishments of the MSD for Mothers Project has been the training of healthcare professionals in evidence-based interventions, which has led to improved maternal outcomes. Additionally, health facilities are now better prepared to handle maternal and newborn emergencies. These emergencies include the top three leading causes of maternal mortality: hypertension in pregnancy, preterm labor, and hemorrhage,” said Dr. Dorothea Jarabo, the project’s local OB-GYN Consultant.
Dr. Maria Stephanie Fay Cagayan, the project’s Senior OB-GYN consultant and a lead contributor to the development of the resource book, shared, “We are hoping that through this bluebook, which documents best practices, the capacity of health services to respond effectively to emergency maternal cases will improve. This includes early recognition of high-risk and complicated pregnancies, timely referrals, and the provision of primary care management.”
Angela Nash-Mercado, Senior Program Manager of Jhpiego, expressed her enthusiasm about this achievement, saying, “The launch of this resource book is a testament to the power of partnerships and effective health networks. By pooling our expertise and resources, we are paving the way for safer pregnancies and healthier futures for mothers and newborns in Sorsogon.”
Through the collective efforts of the provincial health office, LGUs, health facilities, local agencies, civil society organizations, and development partners, Sorsogon has achieved outstanding progress in providing universal healthcare that is accessible, available, affordable, and of high quality to its residents. As one of the two provinces in the Bicol Region designated as a Universal Health Care (UHC) integration site, Sorsogon Province is setting a precedent for improved healthcare services that prioritize the well-being of mothers and newborns.
“Our province is dedicated to providing exemplary maternal and newborn care. This resource book empowers our healthcare professionals with the knowledge they need to respond swiftly and effectively to critical situations, ensuring the safety and health of mothers and newborns.” said Dr. Renato Bolo Jr., PHO II of the Provincial Health Office Sorsogon.
“Through this ongoing process of quality improvement and reinforcing our healthcare system since 2022, Sorsogon is achieving remarkable strides in its response to obstetric emergencies. The province is steadfastly committed to ensuring that pregnant women within the province receive the utmost standard of care throughout their pregnancies and during childbirth,” Dr. Bolo added.
Dr. Ingrid Magnata, Country Program Manager of Jhpiego Philippines, further emphasized the broader impact of the manual, stating, “This bluebook isn’t just a publication; it’s a lifeline. It provides healthcare professionals in Sorsogon with evidence-based tools to manage emergencies, ultimately ensuring that every pregnancy and childbirth receives the attention it deserves.”