To provide more information on how culture and tradition affects the Cordillerans’ access to health services and their attitude towards gender equality, the Cordillera Regional Social Development Committee (CAR RSDC) resolved to request the Philippine Statistics Authority to provide the CAR RDC with the region’s population data disaggregated by ethnolinguistic tribe, preferably down to the barangay level.
This is in the light of the results of the 2013 National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) presented by Ms. Bettina Joy Villanueva of PSA-CAR during the CAR RSDC meeting held on November 28, 2014.
According to Ms. Villanueva, there are 16 infant deaths recorded for every 1,000 live births in the Cordillera, while there are about 25 deaths for every 1,000 live births among children under five years of age. While these figures are better than the national figures of 23% and 32% for infant mortality and under-five mortality deaths, respectively, the RSDC believes that a lot has to be done particularly since it was also reported that 4 out of ten newborn babies are not subjected to postnatal checkups.
DOH-CAR’s ARD Amelita Pangilinan shared that one factor that could have contributed to this low postnatal checkup turnout is the difficulty of some households in the region’s remote areas in accessing health facilities. Another factor, she said, could be religious and cultural beliefs that may influence the extent by which supposed beneficiaries access health services.
Through the requested ethnolinguistic data, the RSDC also hopes to study the extent by which culture influences the Cordillerans’ attitudes towards violence against women or men. According to the NDHS results, about 19 percent of the interviewed women in the Cordillera agree that a husband is justified in hitting his wife if the latter neglects their children, argues with the husband, burns the food, leaves the house without telling the husband, or refuses to have sex with him.
Information on how culture influences these behavior and attitudes will guide the government’s program implementers in coming up with more responsive and effective programs and projects to address these concerns.
The 2013 NDHS is the 10th in a series of surveys conducted by PSA every five years since 1968. It is designed to assess the demographic and health situation in the country and across the regions. (Virginia Anceno and Ma. Emelie Daquipil, NEDA-CAR)