First-time parents find new allies in journey to safer births

Philippines, 9 August 2016 - Since maternal and infant health remain a pressing national concern in the Philippines with 114 maternal deaths in every 100,000 births recorded in 2015...

Philippines, 9 August 2016 - Since maternal and infant health remain a pressing national concern in the Philippines with 114 maternal deaths in every 100,000 births recorded in 2015, organizations from both the government and private sectors must actively work together to build a dedicated community that will advocate on the issue of safer births—that is, instances of pregnancy with minimal to no complications—for all expectant parents.

This is the challenge that FWD Life Philippines, the country’s fastest-growing insurance company, has taken up as it leads a consortium of thought leaders and industry experts in advocating empowered parenthood for Filipino families. The consortium—spearheaded by FWD in partnership with the Department of Health (DoH) and the University of the Philippines-National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH), among others—is seen to become instrumental in building a community that actively helps first-time parents prepare for the wide range of health and financial risks tied to pregnancy. Complementing the consortium is FWD’s community parenting app for expectant parents, “Ready to Parent”.

The highlight of the consortium, dubbed as “PATH TO LIFE,” will be the partnership with DoH spokesperson and long-standing public health champion Dr. Eric Tayag, and obstetrics and gynecology expert, Dr. Blanca de Guia.

Expounding on the idea of “safer birth”

Establishing a community that understands what constitutes the idea of safer birth—that is, instances of pregnancy and delivery with minimal to no complications—is paramount in spreading the word, according to Tayag.

“First-time parents, most especially, need to have access to or can communicate with third parties that can provide them with correct information, which will lessen their anxiety and improve their disposition about pregnancy,” Dr. Tayag also added.

For Dr. De Guia, the goal to make expectant parents better prepared to face the challenges ahead. “Since the idea of safer birth is considered a high priority that affects the holistic wellness of an entire family, the Path to Life consortium aims to reach out to families whose mothers, newborns, and fathers will benefit from being ready for the risks that come with this life-changing journey.”

FWD Life Philippines President and CEO Peter Grimes believes that combined efforts by a consortium of like-minded advocates will only help make safer births more achievable for Filipino families. “We felt that efficiently addressing this mounting challenge will become a lot more feasible with the support and participation of both the government and private sectors, particularly with experts like Dr. Tayag and the DoH,” he said.

Fostering a community of advocates via technology

According to DoH, there are at least three factors that can be tied to the obstacles concerning maternal health in the country: delay in reaching appropriate channels, delay in providing proper maternal health tools, and delay in seeking medical help.

As its contribution to the promotion of safer pregnancy, FWD recently introduced its mobile-first community parenting app—“Ready to Parent” —designed as a companion for first-time parents. Tied to DoH’s vision of creating a community of empowered and informed Filipino parents, FWD’s “Ready to Parent” app, which may now be downloaded from the Apple App Store or Google Play, will serve as one of the channels through which first-time parents can share their journey to parenthood, as well as exchange useful tips and advice on better maternal and infant health, all done in real time. Through the app, expectant parents can chat with fellow community members, learn from a host of shareable parenting- and pregnancy-related articles, and journal their pregnancy journey.

Dr. Tayag also believes that digital resources are most effective when used to improve the health-seeking behavior of expectant moms. “Safer births begin with every parent, and technology can be used to supplement consultations with doctors and visits to their community health centers,” he said. “Hopefully, parents who will be using the mobile app can also help build a more well-informed community of expectant mothers by sharing the information they access online.”

“Our vision for this latest venture is to involve the nation in addressing the health risks of expecting families in relation to pregnancy,” shares Grimes. “With the help of other members of our consortium, we hope that in the near future, we can make every child birth a safer and a positive experience for every Filipino family.”

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About FWD Philippines

FWD Life Insurance Corporation (“FWD Life”) is the first life insurance company licensed by the Insurance Commission of the Philippines under the new Insurance Code. FWD launched its commercial operations in September 2014. After its first full year of operations in 2015, FWD Life now ranks #13 in terms of total premium income according to the Insurance Commission’s end-2015 report.1 FWD Group spans Hong Kong & Macau, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Vietnam, offering life and medical insurance, general insurance, and employee benefits across a number of its markets. Established in Asia in 2013, FWD is the insurance business arm of investment group, Pacific Century Group.

FWD is focused on creating fresh customer experiences, with easy-to-understand products, supported by leading digital technologies. Through this customer-led approach, FWD will achieve its vision to become the leading pan-Asian insurer that changes the way people feel about insurance.

For more information please visit WWW.FWD.COM.PH.


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Maria Theresa A. Isla
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