Chepang women with their babies in Dhadhing district in this file photo. Maternal health is a major issue in far-flung areas of the district.
DHADING, Aug 3: Emergency service for pregnant women is essential for safe motherhood. However, expecting mothers in most of the rural areas of the country continue to suffer in lack of medical interventions. In a bid to address this problem, Ganga Jamuna Rural Municipality in Dhading has started running ‘labor room’ in all the health centers of this remote place.
According to the local authorities, the facility is playing a vital role to save mothers and newborns.
“These locations are very remote in terms of geography and there might be emergency anytime. Now, the labour rooms have become a boon for pregnant women,” noted Anjila Tamang, vice chairperson of the municipality. She added that the facility was introduced on the initiation and investment of the municipal office.
According to Tamang, the room is almost equivalent to a birthing center. Necessary equipment, medicines and medical support have been ensured.
A newly established labor room in Dhadhing.
Jwalamukhi Rural Municipality of Dhading is also gearing up to ensure safe motherhood. Meanwhile, Maidi Health Center of the rural municipality used to offer free maternal service since 2005, which is being gradually expanded.
According to Sujan Shrestha, coordinator of Maidi Health Center, the service back then was started following multiple cases of death of pregnant mothers in lack of emergency care. And it indeed saved many lives.
“Despite close proximity of this place with the capital city, pregnant mothers were dying here in big numbers. After repeated cases like this, we started free service,” he said.
Now, all the four health centers of Jwalamukhi Rural Municipality offer service for pregnant women and nursing mothers. The health centers at Maidi, Khari, Dhola and Salbas have been catering to the needs of the rural women.
Shrestha informed that emergency maternal care fund has been established in all the health centers. Those centers have also been providing mobile health service for women.
Tripura Sundari Rural Municipality is equally sensitive about safe motherhood. It has also been operating labor room in all its health centers. According to Shambhu Thapa, chairperson of the rural municipality, women are encouraged to come and stay in those rooms when their delivery date comes closer. If they are already in the care center when they are about to deliver, better and timely service can be provided, he said, adding that the service is free of cost.
“They are asked to come and stay in the facility as their delivery time comes near. And they don’t have to pay for food and accommodation till the time of delivery,” said Thapa. “The rural municipal office bears all the cost.”
Expecting mothers in Gajuri Rural Municipality have been given this service too. According to Sita Dhungana, vice chairperson of the rural municipality, investment in safe motherhood is very essential.
“If you fail to ensure good health of child and mother right in the beginning, complications might appear. Later, health issues might cost dearly. So, safe motherhood is very essential,” she said.
Dhungana stated that the rural municipality is trying to revamp the entire health sector in the area. Not just maternal health, the municipal office is interested to ensure quality health service for all, she said.
“We are very serious about maternal health. We wish that no one needs to go elsewhere seeking health care. We are working in that direction,” she added.
In the rural areas of Dhading, child marriage is still prevalent. Early motherhood naturally poses severe health risks to the mother as well as the baby.
Similarly, lack of awareness prevents women from visiting health care centers for timely visit during their pregnancy. Amid such scenario, presence of labor room in local health centers is expected to benefit many.
“For Chepangs and other poor communities, such free service and mobile health service mean a lot,” noted Thapa.
Bishnu Rijal, chief of the District Health Office, Dhading meanwhile stated that the district has taken maternal health issue very seriously and working rigorously to provide the best care to pregnant women.
“Health policies are there but implementation part is more important. Safe motherhood has been prioritized by all local bodies. This is a good sign,” he said.