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Awareness on and availment of Philhealth’s maternity care benefits among selected patients of a tertiary hospital in Southern Luzon

Joeima D. Bernardino, MD and Honorata Lalaine P. Burog, MD, FPOGS, FPSSTD
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Batangas Medical Center

Background: In spite of policy changes and government programs aimed to improve maternal health and reduce maternal morbidity, the Philippines failed to achieve its Millennium Development Goals targets because of several identified factors.

Objective: To determine the relationships of maternal profile and awareness on and availment of PhilHealth maternity care benefits among the selected patients of a Tertiary Hospital in Southern Luzon Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology were investigated from February 2015 to February 2016.

Methodology: Descriptive cross-sectional survey method was used in the study involving 365 respondents selected through convenience sampling. Chi-square test and Cramer’s V was used to determine relationships among the variables. Maternal profile, which included the patient’s age, educational attainment, employment, family income, health insurance coverage, access to mass media and the Internet and number of pregnancies were considered as an intervening variable.

Results: The results of the study revealed low level of benefit awareness even for the respondents who have existing PhilHealth coverage. They also failed to avail most of the benefits. Statistical analyses revealed that age, family income, health insurance coverage and number of pregnancies were significantly related to awareness while only family income and health insurance coverage were significantly related to availment. It was established further that pregnant women who were more aware of their benefits were more likely to avail them.

Conclusion: To achieve optimum availment of benefits, an iterative process of awareness campaign should be instituted starting from high school education to women’s employment and from initial contact with Barangay Health Workers to their consultation with health care providers.