KATHMANDU, April 17: Nepal has made a significant progress in maternal health and family planning since 1994, according to a recent report of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). However, reproductive rights still remain out of reach for many women in Nepal.
According to the report, one in four married women currently has not adopted family planning measures and maternal mortality remains high at 239 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births.
Globally, the number of women who died from pregnancy-related causes has decreased from 369 per 100,000 live births in 1994, to 216 in 2015.
The recently endorsed Safe Motherhood and Reproductive Health Rights Act 2018 in Nepal recognizes reproductive rights as a fundamental human right. It aims to expand reproductive health care and reach out to vulnerable groups including adolescents. Recognizing multiple barriers faced by certain groups based on ethnicity, caste, religion as well as age, marital status, disability, among others, the Act commits to promoting non-discrimination in access to sexual and reproductive health services.
The efforts of the reproductive rights movement have dramatically reduced the number of unintended pregnancies and maternal deaths, and have cleared the way for healthier, more productive lives for untold millions, the report says.
“Despite the increasing availability of contraceptives over the years, many women today still have no access to them, and to the reproductive choices that come with them,” said Dr Natalia Kanem, UNFPA executive director.