Quezon City goes digital with maternal, newborn database

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Quezon City Mayor Bautista speaks at the maternal and neonatal summit.

The Quezon City local government goes digital with its maternal and newborn health services, on Monday rolling out an “online information exchange database” that would quickly connect the medical records of mothers who gave birth at private lying-in clinics to the city’s health centers.

Called the Seal of Excellence Plus (SOE Plus), this initiative aims to remove delays in accessing maternal and newborn health services and to ensure the expeditious delivery of services, especially immunization or vaccination for infants.

According to Quezon City mayor Herbert Bautista, SOE Plus is among the pocket programs of the city government that aims to reduce the number of deaths among mothers and newborns in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDG).

“We want to make sure about the safety and the quality of service that these private lying-in clinics provide when it comes to maternal and child care. The most important objective of this program is the protection of mothers, pregnant women, and their children,” Bautista said in a mix of English and Filipino during the 5th Maternal and Neonatal Health Summit at Sequioa Hotel in Quezon City.

According to the UNSDG, the global maternal mortality ratio should be reduced to less than 70 per 100,000 live births by 2030.

Under the SOE Plus program, private lying-in clinics around Quezon City are required to submit medical records of mothers who give birth at their clinic and data on their infants to the city’s health centers.

The medical and health documents will be encoded through a computer application developed by the Information Technology (IT) Department of the Quezon City Government, and the data transmitted via internet to the city health center.

After receiving the records, the city health centers can ascertain the mothers and infants in their area and provide them the needed maternal and neonatal health services.

“The health center could locate the mother and her newly born infant, visit them, and encourage them to continue with the needed health services,” said Dr. Ramona Abarquez, coordinator of the Quezon City Health Department’s Maternal, Newborn, Child Health & Nutrition (MNCHN) program.

SOE Plus is an innovation on top of Quezon City’s current maternal health policies over private lying-in clinics, which was implemented last year, called the Seal of Excellence.

In partnership with United Laboratories Inc. (Unilab Inc.), the Seal of Excellence program monitors private lying-in clinics and gives recognition to clinics which have been fully compliant with the standards set by the Department of Health (DOH), PhilHealth, and the city’s local permit issuances.

Some 44 private lying-in clinics were given awards for meeting the quality healthcare standard for the citizens of Quezon City.

The Quezon City Health Department also presented a website for mothers to locate the nearest quality lying-in clinics from their residence.

Aside from the program’s benefits for Quezon City residents, Claire Papa, Unilab’s External Affairs and Social Partnerships Head, also stressed the importance of the data recording aspect of the program, especially when it comes to the city government’s plans on health policies.

“This is because health services, especially childbirth, are often registered improperly. The program is important for the city government, especially when it comes to creating a plan since you’re working on data,” she said in Filipino

“So, once the mother gives birth, the private lying-in clinic will be able to quickly register the newborn,” she added.

Mayor Bautista is also looking into expanding the online database to reach hospitals in Quezon City so doctors could immediately access medical records in cases of emergency.

If the Seal of Excellence proves successful, Bautista said further that Quezon City could adopt the same strategy for other health services, especially for senior citizens clinics, therapeutic clinics. chemotherapy clinics, or dialysis centers.