PSA-ARMM releases NDHS 2017 results
Results of the 2017 National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS 2017) for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) was released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA-ARMM) to all data partners and stakeholders in the region last 30 October 2018 at EM Manor Hotel and Convention Center, Cotabato City. A total of 100 participants, composed of 56 males and 44 females, attended this event.
NDHS 2017 is a part of the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) program conducted worldwide. It gathers information from a sample of women age 15 to 49 years old to estimate current levels of fertility, mortality, and migration, including the factors that affect them. Results of this survey provide helpful inputs to policy formulation and to monitoring activities and researches related to health and family planning of both the government and private sectors.
According to Mr. Jeremias A. Luis, Supervising Statistical Specialist of PSA Central Office, this survey is conducted every five years since 1968. The previous one was conducted in 2013, thus it is supposedly to be followed in 2018. However, due to an urgent clamor by the new administration to conduct it earlier, NDHS 2017 was executed as the eleventh in the series of demographic and health surveys in the Philippines.
Hji. Razulden A. Mangelen, OIC-Regional Director (RD) of PSA-ARMM, acknowledged the presence of the officials and representatives of line agencies in his opening remarks. He also briefly discussed the description and objectives of NDHS 2017, and enumerated the topics to be discussed throughout the forum. OIC-RD Mangelen officially launched the results of NDHS 2017.
Officials of PSA-ARMM were tasked to discuss results of NDHS 2017 by chapter. Mr. Mahmur H. Sarail, Chief of the Statistical Operations and Coordination Division (SOCD), presented the Introduction, Survey Methodology, Households and Respondents Characteristics. Engr. Naser S. Usman, Provincial Statistics Officer (PSO) of PSA-Basilan, discussed Fertility and Family Planning; while Dr. Noronisa D. Macadadaya, PSO of PSA-Lanao del Sur, discussed Maternal and Child Health, and Breastfeeding. Childhood Mortality, HIV Knowledge, Attitudes and Behavior, and Health Utilization and Financing were tackled by Engr. Medzhor A. Tan, PSO of PSA-Sulu, and Mr. Masil H. Mohammadsha, PSO of PSA-Tawi-Tawi. Lastly, Engr. Akan G. Tula, OIC-PSO of PSA-Maguindanao, presented the results on Women’s Empowerment and Domestic Violence.
Moreover, PSA-ARMM’s Regional Focal Persons for NDHS 2017, Ms. Sittie Asmalia D. Cornell, Statistical Specialist II, and Mr. Abdulbasit E. Abdulsamad, Statistical Specialist II, lectured on Reading Tables, Stat Compiler and Mobile App, to make the participants understand and appreciate more the results of the survey.
Results of NDHS and administrative data from the Department of Health (DOH) have always been compared by the data users. Dr. Zul Qarneyn M. Abas, Assistant Regional Secretary of DOH-ARMM, believes that data from PSA and DOH can both guide the users in determining focal points and implementing appropriate health programs. Dr. Abas emphasized that service providers must always accept the data. If the result is negative, therefore services need further improvements. For example, the low data on maternal and child health might be due to lack of health services attributed to the lack of health facilities in the region. Based on this correlation, the government may have an evidence-based decision of implementing additional clinics and hospitals in some communities. The quality of health services can also be affected by other factors such as lack of personnel. Dr. Abas shared that DOH-ARMM is the only DOH regional office in the country that has only less than a hundred personnel serving the whole region.
Mr. Rashid M. Bangcolongan, Chief Planning Officer of the Regional Commission on Bangsamoro Women (RCBW), represented Chairperson Sittie Jehanne U. Mutin who was in abroad for official travel. Mr. Bangcolongan introduced his agency, its mandates and primary services to the women of Bangsamoro and Indigenous Peoples (IPs). Despite of rampant cases on abuse, rape, kidnapping and human trafficking in the region, results of NDHS 2017 shows very minimal numbers of women who reported their experience on such cases. According to him, it is not easy to collect demographic and health information, specifically data on violence against women and children (VAWC), from these group of people since most of the respondents are hesitant to share such information due to culture and fear for consequences. Mr. Bangcolongan believes that only through sharing information that the authorities will be triggered to take action. Thus, NDHS 2017 should serve as an eye-opener for everyone to campaign for the mainstreaming of such issues.
Atty. Laisa M. Alamia, Executive Secretary of the Office of the Regional Governor in ARMM, was not able to attend the forum due to an equally important event. She was represented by Engr. Dong K. Anayatin, the Assistant Regional Secretary of the Office on Special Concerns. Engr. Anayatin said that priorities of the government has always been based on statistics. PSA reported that ARMM has the highest poverty incidence in the country, thus the regional administration concentrated its programs on mitigating such problem. In line with this, the regional government implemented the Humanitarian Emergency Assistance and Response Team (HEART); Health, Education, Livelihood, Peace and Governance and Synergy (HELPS); and the Bangsamoro Inclusive Development for Growth and Empowerment (BRIDGE) or the Apat na Dapat program. Engr. Anayatin admitted that these special programs do not directly emphasize the issues and concerns of women. Thus the regional government also implemented an executive order creating a team focusing on women’s reproductive health. Engr. Anayatin also shared updates on the government’s progress on technology, governance, harmonization, and some provisions of the Republic Act No. 11054, also known as the Bangsamoro Organic Law.
In his closing remarks, Mr. Assad Baunto Abdullah, Assistant Regional Secretary of the Regional Planning and Development Office (RPDO-ARMM), shared that RPDO, together with other line agencies, is currently crafting the transitional report of ARMM. During their session, the body needed updated health indicators. Thus, the data dissemination forum of PSA-ARMM is at the perfect timing. Asec. Abdullah clarified that just because NDHS is just a survey, does not mean that it is not true. Though it is just from a sample, survey result can provide a valid representation of a population. However, different surveys of different samples may generate different results. Disagreement leads to a point of discussion, which then results into harmonization.