Health Ministry deputes trained nurses in villages across country for postnatal care

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In a bid to reduce postnatal deaths, the Ministry of Health and Population has started deputing nurses to villages to provide postnatal care to new mothers.

This move from the ministry comes as the number of maternal deaths, especially in the postnatal stage, has failed to decrease for quite some time.

Currently, 229 women die during or after child birth in every 100,000 live births. Among them, 24 percent die during or after child birth and 19 percent in the postnatal period.

Dr Punya Poudel, focal person at the Family Welfare Division of Department of Health Services, said that her office has started sending trained nurses to villages in 30 districts.

“Sending trained nurses to villages to provide postnatal care is in line with our micro planning,” said Poudel. “Trained nurses have been providing postnatal care in some local levels in 30 districts. The division is planning to send nurses in every household of new mothers in the future to ensure that new mothers and their babies are healthy and safe.”

Every year, hundreds of women die of excessive bleeding in the postnatal period.

Reducing postnatal death has become a challenge for concerned agencies under the Health Ministry, which stands to affect Nepal’s target to achieve United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal, for which it has to reduce maternal mortality rate to 75 for every 100,000 births by 2030 to meet the target.

Nepal drastically reduced maternal mortality rate from 1996 to 2016 from 539 to 229 per 100,000 live births, scripting a success story.

Doctors say that new mothers should get examined by health workers in three, five and seven days of delivery, to ensure that everything is fine with the mother and the baby. But the division said that postnatal care in health facilities in Nepal is almost nil.

Lack of easy access to health care facilities due to difficult topography and lack of awareness for postnatal visits as well as cultural beliefs—such as a new mother should not leave the house before 11 days of childbirth—are considered to be some of the main reasons for fewer postnatal visits to health care facilities.

The government provides Rs 800 travel allowances for receiving antenatal care, but does not provide any incentive for postnatal visit.

Published: 28-03-2019 07:41