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UNFPA and Australia heed the call of health workers, pregnant mothers of Fabella Hospital

MANILA, Philippines --  Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital received a fully equipped Emergency Maternity Tent Facility (EMTF) complemented with Reproductive Health Kits through the Multi-Year Prepositioning Project of UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund in the Philippines, with the Government of Australia. The hospital will use the EMTF in assisting pregnant women under normal to complicated birth deliveries amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“The Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital continues to operate and provide reproductive, maternal, neonatal, and child health services to pregnant women in the National Capital Region in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Dr. Esmeraldo Ilem, Chief of Hospital, shared. “Even with the pandemic, admission and delivery in the hospital remain high at an average of forty (40) per day,” he added. The Fabella Hospital is the hospital of choice for pregnant women, especially among the urban poor in the Greater Manila Area. 

UNFPA, through its strategic partnership with the Australian Government, immediately responded to the request of Dr. Fabella Memorial Hospital after warnings of rising COVID-19 cases among patients seeking healthcare. The tent will support the hospital to triage incoming patients, separating symptomatic and asymptomatic patients to prevent the admixture of cases.

“This is a COVID-19 response to ensuring that mothers and hospital staff are safe and healthy amid this health crisis. No health worker or expectant mother should feel threatened because safety protocols, like physical distancing, cannot be practiced in the hospital. No expectant mother should be denied care because health systems are overwhelmed,” Dr. Leila Sajii Joudane, UNFPA Country Representative, underscored.

The 42 square meter emergency tent, complete with medical furniture and equipment, will be used by the hospital’s health personnel to provide reproductive, maternal, neonatal, and child services in the hospital. Reproductive health kits contain midwifery supplies and reusable equipment for clinical delivery assistance and reusable equipment for complicated deliveries requiring surgical interventions.

“The tent and the equipment from the Australian Government and UNFPA will benefit our health workforce, especially those who are assigned to the Emergency Room and Admission Area,” expressed Dr. Romeo Bituin, Fabella Hospital Chief of Medical Professional Staff.  “At present, we receive in the ER patients on imminent delivery and those with serious medical conditions like seizure and hypertension. The tent will provide additional space for our medical team to attend to the urgent needs of our arriving patients. Our health workers feel safer and also comfortable in the tent with its new supplies and equipment,” Dr. Romeo Bituin added.

In the next six months, the tent will support about 20,000 women of reproductive age seeking on-site consultation. It will directly support 600 normal deliveries and 300 complicated pregnancies needing surgical intervention.