Health governance in strengthening the referral system to reduce maternal mortality in local communities of Manila

Event details


Date & time

Tuesday 26 March 2019


3/F RegNet Meeting Room Coombs Ext. Australian National University
ANU Canberra


Erlidia Llamas-Clark


Kent Primor
+61 2 6125 0537

Maternal mortality in the Philippines continues to be a significant public health concern even in metropolitan urban centres. Annually, 20-25 maternal deaths occur in Manila City despite the availability and access to significant health resources in public hospitals and maternity facilities. This ‘silent disaster’ needs to be addressed through a range of maternal health services, policies and programs. The untimely deaths of women during pregnancy is a tragedy for families and a social capital and economic productivity loss to the city and the country. This presentation shows the results of secondary data analyses to describe the socio-demographic and clinical profiles that impact maternal deaths. Findings from key informant interviews to understand the roles of key stakeholders in shaping local maternal health policies and programs which aim to reduce maternal mortality rates will also be discussed. Strengthening the maternal health system through early identification and referral for treatment of life threatening pregnancy conditions and local government financial support were identified needs and barriers. In the process, this project highlights the collaboration of Manila City Health Department, partner hospitals and organizations to strengthen the local maternal referral system by harnessing available health resources and addressing issues in maternity care. Consultative meetings and reviews monitored activities and translated the findings into institutional agreements for maternity service delivery networks and city ordinance to support maternal health. Coordinated action of key stakeholders involved in maternal mortality reduction in Manila City remains a challenge but attempts at improving this are underway.

About the Speaker

Dr. Erlidia F. Llamas-Clark is an Associate Professor V and Attending Consultant at the University of the Philippines – Philippine General Hospital. She is an obstetrician-gynecologist specializing in ultrasound, and is actively involved in several women and reproductive health research projects.

She obtained her medical degree at the University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center, finished her Obstetrics and Gynecology residency training and OB GYN Ultrasound fellowship program at the University of the Philippines Philippine General Hospital. Thereafter, she became a UN Volunteer medical specialist and an academic and Assistant Professor and consultant in the Central and South Pacific countries of Kiribati and the Fiji islands respectively.

She gained a Master in Public Health degree from the University of Adelaide and received a PhD at the Australian National University in Epidemiology and Population health. Her multidisciplinary research was on the socio-cultural determinants and health impacts of climate change extreme weather events on food and nutrition security of women and children in the Philippines during the TS Ketsana and Typhoon Parma (2009). She was a medical volunteer in Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) in Tacloban/Samar in 2013. Apart from her medical work, she actively promotes mainstreaming gender, maternal and climate change and disaster risk reduction in the university, local government units and professional health organizations.

Currently, she works extensively in the Philippines, collaborating with overseas universities and local agencies in research and service, advocating for effective public health programs in marginalized communities, highlighting on reproductive health issues, gender advocacy, women empowerment, environmental health, health governance and equitable health services delivery.

Updated:  10 August 2017/Responsible Officer:  Director, RegNet/Page Contact:  Director, RegNet