Maternal and infant health home visit program pushed in Congress

MANILA, (PNA) — A former broadcast journalist turned lawmaker is pushing the establishment of a maternal and infant health home visiting program for low-income pregnant adolescents.

Laguna Rep. Sol Aragones filed House Bill 338 to reduce the incidence of maternal and infant mortality in the country.

Aragones said only pregnant women below 21 years of age, or low-income families with an infant up to the age of one, shall be eligible to receive maternal and infant care services right in their homes.

“The maternal and child health services shall not advocate, promote or encourage abortion,” Aragones said in her explanatory note.

The measure, to be known as the Maternal and Infant Health Home Visiting Program Act, seeks to improve and expand the availability of, and access to poor and young pregnant women, the needed comprehensive maternity care services.

“Teenage pregnancy among the low-income family groups is a major problem that the country is facing. Pregnancy among women aged 15-24 are considered untimely or unwanted, since at this stage, they are supposed to be enjoying their lives,” Aragones said.

Aragones said the bill would provide a pre-natal and postnatal maternity care services in the home of pregnant women in order to protect their health as well as the future health and well-being of their newborn children.

Under the proposed measure, the Department of Health (DOH) shall designate an appropriate health professional, or a qualified non-professional acting under the supervision of a health care professional, who shall deliver maternal and child health services in the home of eligible individuals.

Under the bill, the maternal and child health services include: instruction and counseling regarding future health care for the woman and her child; counseling and education concerning all aspects of prenatal care; and general family counseling and medical care for eligible individuals.