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Use of hammocks gives rural Philippine mothers a chance to deliver in hospitals

Portable hammocks in remote mountain villages in the Philippines have given mother s in labor a real chance to make it to a hospital for delivery, IRIN reports.

Locally known as an ayod, the makeshift hammocks have traditionally been used to bring the sick and elderly through the thick mountainous landscape in order to get them to hospitals in lower regions.

Most recently, the Ayod Community Health Teams (ACHT), a local organization, has been working to use the carriers to transport pregnant residents down the mountains so that they can have safer deliveries in a hospital setting.

"The ayod has always been there, but now, institutionalized as a community effort, it has mitigated the two factors that greatly affect maternal health, namely: the decision to seek care and the means of transportation to get it," Hector Follosco, a provincial programme officer for UN Population Fund (UNFPA), told the news outlet.

Many humanitarians hope that the transportation will encourage mothers to opt for a hospital delivery over a more traditional home birth as a way to lower the infant mortality rate in the rural areas. The National Statistical Coordination Board reported that in 2006 the maternal mortality ratio was 260 per 100,000 live births in rural regions. While the national average was 162 per 100,000.

Although many mothers were skeptical about abandoning the traditional methods, through education and success rates, more are coming around to the idea.

"Solid community efforts have made facility-based deliveries the norm, rather than the exception. And we are seeing the results of that," said Nobuko Yamagishi, The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) health programme coordinator, told the news source.

Since 2008, JICA reported that deliveries in rural hospitals have increased from 17 percent in 2006 to over 34 percent today.
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