Home Speeches Reproductive Health Men should be men enough to ensure that no woman will die giving life
Men should be men enough to ensure that no woman will die giving life Print
Reproductive Health
Wednesday, 17 October 2007 00:00
(Speech delivered by REP. EDCEL C. LAGMAN at the “Men’s Congress” of the
Quezon City Council on Population (QCCP) on 17 October 2007)

No woman should die giving life. Walang ni isang babae ang dapat mamatay sa panganganak, sa pagbigay buhay. Ngunit sa Pilipinas, sampung babae ang namamatay araw-araw sa pagbubuntis o panganganak. As husbands, brothers, sons and friends of women, we should not stand idly by and let the miracle of life continue to mean death for so many mothers.

Kaya po ikinagagalak ko na ang Quezon City Population Council ay may seminar na magtuturo sa ating mga kalalakihan kung paano maging epektibong katuwang ng mga kababahihan sa usapin ng maternal health at safe motherhood.

Ang pagsilang ng isang sanggol ay dapat maging panahon ng kasiyahan at selebrasyon; hindi panahon ng kalungkutan at pagluluksa. More than half a million women worldwide die annually from complications during pregnancy and childbirth and 99% of these mothers come from developing countries like the Philippines. In this country, maternal deaths account for 14% of all deaths among women. Verily, pregnancy may not be a disease but it can be virtually a death sentence for so many poor women. May katotohanan sa kasabihan na “kapag nagdadalantao, ang isang paa ay nasa hukay.”

A mother’s death can be devastating, not only for the husband, but more so for the children left behind. It must be underscored that infants whose mothers die are also more likely to die before they turn a year old. Older children also become more vulnerable to malnutrition, poverty and exploitation without a mother’s devotion and protection. Daughters are more likely to stop schooling in order to care for younger siblings.

Hindi naman mabubuo ang isang sanggol kung walang lalaki o tatay, alam natin po lahat ito. Samakatuwid, dahil kabilang ang kalalakihan sa pagbuo ng buhay ng isang sanggol, nararapat lamang na kabilang rin sila sa pagtiyak na ang pagbubuntis at panganganak ng kanilang mga kabiyak ay ligtas at matiwasay.

Clearly, having children is a partnership. However, it is a partnership where the stakes are higher for women who face greater risks, including the risk of dying because of gender inequities and lack of support from their partners and husbands.

But more than being a duty, men should consider their involvement in ensuring the good health and safe delivery of their wives as a right that all men should insist on exercising. Huwag nating hayaan na mawala sa ating mga kamay ang mahalagang karapatan na ito.

Apart from the promotion of gender equality and the active participation of men in maternal health, the following are other strategies to ensure safe motherhood:

 

  1. Women must have access to all family planning methods, including modern contraceptives, to (1) avoid unwanted pregnancies and (2) to help them plan their families;
  2. All pregnant women must have access to skilled care at the time of birth; and
  3. Women who experience complications must have timely access to quality emergency obstetric care.

 

Maaring iniisip ninyo, bakit kailangang maging katuwang pa ang kalalakihan sa mga pangkababaihang usapin tulad ng pagdadalantao at panganganak?

Men are crucial in ensuring gender equality and saving women’s lives because in societies like ours, men play a dominant role in almost every sphere of life – from private decisions like family planning to public policies on reproductive health and women’s rights. It is important to underscore that it is precisely within the realm of politics and religion – in which men play central roles – that key reproductive health decisions affecting women’s lives have been made and are being made.

The realization of genuine gender equality implies social transformation and any phenomenon of this magnitude and significance will more likely be achieved when men recognize that the empowerment of women through better health, education and opportunities benefits everyone.

Research by the United Population Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) shows that the care and support of a husband “improves pregnancy and childbirth outcomes and can mean the difference between life and death in cases of complications, when women need immediate medical care.”

Upang maging matagumpay ang ating seminar ngayong araw, kailangang mabago ang ilang mga paniniwala ukol sa papel na ginagampanan ng lalaki sa lipunan at pamilya, gayon din sa mga tradisyonal na saloobin hinggil sa kung ano ang mga katangian ng isang tunay na lalake.

The conventional attitude of Filipinos regarding the role of men and the traits that supposedly make up real men create a major challenge in efforts to involve men in maternal health. This is exemplified in the following idiosyncrasies:

 

  1. Naniniwala pa rin ang karamihan sa mga Pilipino na kayamanan ang maraming anak. The greater number of children is equated with economic asset. In the agricultural sector, children are welcomed as additional farmhands, while in the urban areas they are considered and used as supplementary income earners. Ngunit kailangan ng mga babae ang tatlo or higit pang taon upang makapagpahinga ang kanilang mga katawan sa pagbubuntis at panganganak. Ang sunud-sunod na pagdadalantao ay nakakaapekto sa kalusugan ng nanay at ng kanyang sanggol.
  2. Ang maraming anak ay katangian ng isang tunay at machong lalake. The macho culture of the Filipino male where numerous offspring is a measure of virility exacerbates the problem. In Mexico, the government has come up with an innovative family planning campaign which deglamorizes machismo. The strategy is a slogan which teaches that it is not macho to have 10 children with only one having shoes, what is truly macho is having two children with both of them having shoes, food, clothes and school books.
  3. The docility of the average Filipino woman, brought about by her lack of education and economic independence, compounds the problem of multiplicity of children. She invariably surrenders to her husband’s sexual urges, which is a flawed submission to her partner’s so-called “dominance”.

 

Just a few days ago I saw a video of an information campaign by the UNFPA on precisely the need for men to be involved in maternal health. It is effective on several levels because: (1) it uses humor; (2) it will jolt men to rethink their old beliefs; and (3) its message is loud and clear.

Doon sa video, may dalawang magkaibigang lalake na nag-uusap habang yung una ay nagsasampay ng labada at yung pangalawa ay may karga-kargang batang iyak nang iyak. Nagbubuhos ng sama ng loob yung may kargang bata at sinabi niyang: “Pare, sabihin mo nang masama akong asawa pero ayoko na talagang magbuntis!” Sa baliktad na mundo ng video, ang mga lalake ang nagbubuntis, sila ang binubogbog ng mga misis nila at sila ang nagrereklamo na anak sila nang anak hanggang sa losyang na losyang na ang mga katawan nila, hindi naman napapakain ang mga bata ng mga misis nila.

Another humorous but thought provoking comment made by one of the men was: “Lima na nga ang anak naming lalake, gusto pa magkababae ni misis.” This is a loaded statement against men who insist on trying to have male children even if their wives have already given birth to three, four, five, six, even 10 daughters.

Paano nga ba kung baliktad ang mundo? Paano kung tayong mga lalake ang nanganganak? Paano kung tayo ang namamatay sa pagbubuntis? Hindi kaya maiiba ang pagtingin natin sa pagdadalantao? Hindi kaya igigiit natin na tulungan tayo ng ating mga misis sa pagplano ng pamilya? Hindi kaya ikatutuwa natin kung sasamahan nila tayo sa doktor para magpa check-up? Hindi kaya tayo mismo ang magsasabi na dalawang anak lang ang gusto natin?

As I join you in this very timely and important seminar, I ask you to keep those questions in mind. Maternal health is not a purely women’s issue. The health and safety of mothers is everyone’s business. Let us resist the gender stereotypes that assign the role of babymakers to women and breadwinners to men.

For the risks our wives have to go through to give life to our children, the least we could do for them is to give our steadfast care and support; be informed and enlightened husbands; be devoted and committed partners both during the course of their pregnancy and in parenting our children; be consistent practitioners of spacing of children; and be genuine advocates of responsible parenthood.

I am confident that after this seminar, all of you will be men enough to ensure that no woman under your watch will die giving life.

Huwag na nating hintaying mabaliktad pa ang mundo.

Maraming salamat.