Maternal mortality rate still high in Banke

Published On: June 15, 2022 11:30 AM NPT By: Arjun Oli

NEPALGUNJ, June 15: Despite the government spending billions of rupees on maternal safety programs, the maternal mortality rate has not decreased in Banke. According to the District Public Health Office, 14 women lost their lives in the first six months of the current fiscal year 2021/22 while 35 people each had died in the last fiscal year 2020/21 and 2019/20.

Six women have lost their lives in Nepalgunj Sub-metropolis, which is the highest in the district. Similarly, three women died in Janaki Rural Municipality, two each in Rapti Sonari and Narainpur and one woman in Kohalpur Rural Municipality, said Bishnu Shrestha, focal person of Mother Safety Program and public health nurse at the office.

"Even in accessible places like Nepalgunj, the maternal mortality rate is alarming," Shrestha said. The maternal mortality rate is higher among the Madheshi and Muslim communities. The deceased are in the age group of 19 to 35 years. "50 percent of these women lost their lives without having the experience of having their first child while 36 people with the experience of having their first child have died," she said.

Similarly, 15 percent of women died in childbirth, 40 percent after childbirth, and 34 percent within 48 hours of childbirth, according to Shrestha. Senior gynecologist Dr Kalpana Thapa of Bheri Hospital Nepalgunj said that the reason for high mortality rate is that most women come to the hospital only after reaching critical condition.

"These women don't get regular check-ups. They only go to the hospital when they are in critical condition. Later, the doctors fail to save them," she said. “Some have chronic problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and thyroid ailments as well. Hospitals alone cannot do everything to reduce maternal mortality; it must be implemented from the grassroots."

Likewise, District Health Office Banke Chief Dhir Jung Shah said that the office has been making various efforts to reduce the maternal mortality rate. “Despite our main focus being on the increasing maternal mortality rate in hospitals, our efforts alone cannot change the situation," he said. According to him, child marriage, lack of nutrition, getting pregnant before the required age are also the reasons for the increase in maternal mortality rate.

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