KATHMANDU, July 23

A government official stressed on the need to set up more birth centres and newborn care centres to ensure safe motherhood services and institutional delivery.

Speaking at a workshop ‘Project Startup’, conducted by Fairmed Foundation Nepal in collaboration with the government and International Nepal Fellowship, Narayan Kafle, Joint Secretary at the Ministry of Woman, Children and Social Welfare, said, “The government alone cannot strengthen safe motherhood and maternity health services. Other national and international stakeholders should also build a strong bond with umbrella agencies of the government to resolve the maternity health problems in the remote districts of Nepal.”

Kafle highlighted that new projects should come up with innovative ideas for upbringing of the newborn babies with immunisation and nutrition campaigns to curb childhood disability.

Ingrid Mason, Head of Programme Unit, Fairmed Foundation, Switzerland, said that maternal health, treating neglected tropical diseases and capacity building of persons living with disabilities, marginalised community, women and children can be achieved by collaboration and networking of international stakeholders with the national and local stakeholders.

Fairmed Foundation will concentrate on providing primary health care services to pregnant mothers, newborns, children, persons living with disabilities, indigenous communities and on treating the neglected tropical diseases in Kapilvastu district this year, said Mason.

“Capacity building of women and marginalised communities in Kapilvastu is vital as poverty directly induces neglected tropical diseases, unsafe motherhood and disability,” she said, stressing that the sociocultural taboos, gender-based violence and illiteracy are challenges and issues that need to be resolved in Kapilvastu.

Basanta Adhikari of District Public Health Office, Kapilvastu, said that the district has only three hospitals, two primary health care centres, 273 health posts and 13 birthing centres. Likewise, there

are 72,932 households and 1,409 people with disabilities, and 94 per cent population reside in remote villages.

“The health infrastructure are not sufficient to ensure safe motherhood services and institutional delivery. At present the district has 10,000 pregnant mothers and new mothers and 8,000 newborns, and they have not been receiving appropriate primary health care services,” said Adhikari.