Public clinic for women pushed in Davao

Councilor Angela Librado-Trinidad, during the Kapihan sa Davao in SM City Monday, stressed the need to build the clinic to address reproductive health care in the wake of the dumping of fetuses in the city.

Trinidad pushed for legislation to back the clinic proposed since 2005, which she said is an important part in the protection of women’s rights and welfare. She said they planned to pass the resolution before the council ends sessions in June.

The city government, however, has not prioritized the move, she lamented.

The city’s Human Resources Management Office has refused to give its nod on the project, which was endorsed by the Local Health Board.

Trinidad said the clinic should be established in addition to the need to fill 460 vacant positions at the City Health Office.

She said according to a CHO proposal, it will house at least 11 personnel to include not only doctors and midwives but also psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers.

Trinidad said the lying-in clinic, planned to be put up in either the health center in Tinbungco or Ulas, should focus on providing support for women’s reproductive health and not only usual clinical services.

She said the clinic will help the city government educate women to prevent abortion and early age pregnancies.

Obstetrician Leonor Palabyab, during the press conference, blamed the problem of abortion to moral degradation and not just a fertility concern. She said more avenues should be provided to discuss issues that matter to women’s health.

Around six cases of dumped fetuses were reported in Davao in the last four weeks. She said the figure could bloat if unreported incidents in the rural areas are counted, too.

Trinidad said, however, instead of treating the problem as a criminal issue, the city government must be able to provide women with enough support.

"We don’t want this to be viewed as merely a police criminal report. It is not just to pursue who these women are and punish them," she said.

She said abortion is related to other women’s issues that have to be addressed.

For Trinidad, women are victims in this case, not the perpetrators.

Trinidad said the fetus dumping cases made it more urgent to put up the clinic so that there will be a venue to discuss abortion and other reproductive health issues with the public thoroughly.

Librado chairs the city council’s committee on women, children and family relations. (Walter I. Balane / MindaNews)