Remarks by Sung Y. Kim, U.S. Ambassador, LuzonHealth, VisayasHealth, and MindanaoHealth Projects Completion Ceremony

Wednesday, October 17, 2018
LuzonHealth, VisayasHealth, and MindanaoHealth Projects	Completion Ceremony

[As Prepared]

[Greetings]

I am very pleased to join all of you as we celebrate our shared success in improving the health of women, infants, and children nationwide. Back in 2013, the U.S. government partnered with the Department of Health to implement three major family planning and maternal and child health projects: LuzonHealth, VisayasHealth, and MindanaoHealth.

Through these three projects, USAID has contributed over 4 billion pesos to address the problems associated with lack of access to family health services and teen pregnancy.

Nearly half a million Filipino adolescents between the ages of 15 and 19 are already mothers. Early childbearing carries risks for the health and well-being of young women and their children. In addition, teen parents often miss opportunities to finish school and obtain gainful employment, which can hinder them from reaching their full potential.

The U.S. government partnered in these projects, and more generally in the health of mothers and children, because we care deeply about their well-being and because healthy families are crucial to advancing and sustaining the Philippines’ development.

These projects are just one piece of U.S. government support for Ambisyon Natin 2040, the Philippine government’s impressive vision for a healthier and more prosperous country. We are proud to work with our partners at the national and local levels in all three regions of the Philippines to improve the health of all Filipinos -- especially low-income and marginalized families.

We want to expand opportunities for women and children to live healthy lives, regardless of where they are born or their socio-economic status. Enabling couples and families to determine whether, when, and how often to have children is vital to safe motherhood, healthy families, and prosperous communities.

I am proud to say that through LuzonHealth, VisayasHealth, and MindanaoHealth, we have made huge strides in saving lives of mothers and infants.

Together, we expanded access to family planning, as well as maternal, neonatal, and child health services for more than 4 million women and children. We reached 2.7 million people nationwide with family planning and reproductive health messages. We trained nearly 40,000 health workers to provide quality health services. We also increased the availability of family planning supplies by nearly 50 percent over the past five years, allowing more couples to access the family planning method of their choice.

Results of our shared commitment have been excellent. In the past five years, deaths of women in childbirth have declined by 12 percent, and deaths of children under five years of age declined by 13 percent.

But as we celebrate our progress, it’s also important to acknowledge the significant work ahead of us. Early childbearing costs the Philippines approximately 33 billion pesos every year. And although we have made great strides together in expanding access to family planning and maternal care, 13 Filipino mothers still die every day from pregnancy-related complications.

Achieving healthier Filipino families requires a wide range of partners -- many of whom are here with us today -- to collaborate closely, as well as commit resources and technical expertise. In this regard, I applaud the Department of Health for its sustained commitment to fund family planning for underserved women and girls through the Family Planning 2020 initiative.

Today, we also recognize a new chapter in our development partnership. I am pleased that USAID will continue to support the Philippines through new USAID family planning and health systems strengthening activities which will begin in 2019. Through this and other projects, the U.S. will continue to be a committed partner to the Philippines in efforts to further improve the health of Filipino families. We share the belief that better health is directly linked to inclusive, sustainable growth for the country.

We greatly value our strong partnerships with the people and government of the Philippines. And we will continue to work tirelessly shoulder-to-shoulder with all of you to pursue our shared vision of a healthier and more prosperous future. Maraming salamat po!

Issuing Country 

Last updated: October 19, 2018

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