Govt incentives hope for female health volunteers

Kathmandu, October 1:

Stakeholders have applauded the contribution made by Female Community Health Volunteers (FCHV) to reduce maternal and infant mortality rates and control birth rate.

Saying that Nepal has been able to get close to the Millennium Development Goal on maternal and child mortality rates due to the contribution of FCHVs, Minister for Health and Population Giriraj Mani Pokharel said, “If we were to recommend any Nepali for Nobel Prize, it would be the FCHVs.”

Speaking at a function organised on the occasion of fifth National Female Community Health Volunteers’ Day today, Pokharel said FCHVs’ role was significant to improve health condition of Nepali people.

He said whatever had been done for them (the FCHVs) was not enough and the government was in the process of providing them additional incentives.

Government data say there are 48,549 FCHVs who have been serving for over 20 years.

A recent data show that out of 60 countries with high infant mortality rate, Nepal has been one of the seven countries that are on the right track to achieve the Millennium Development Goal of reducing the infant mortality rate.

A survey conducted by the Family Health Division, New Era, USAID and Micro International show that almost 43 per cent of the FCHVs have worked for more than 16 years despite little training and incentives for them.

Dr Dirgha Singh Bam, secretary at the ministry, said the contribution of the FCHVs had been selfless, purely oriented for the social betterment and the government should provide more facilities to them.

He said a fund comprising of Rs 50,000 was established recently in each Village Development

Committee to support the FCHVs and the government was working to provide them with SIM cards of mobile phones.

Representatives from UNICEF, UNFPA, USAID also appreciated the contribution made by the FCHVs to uplift health sector of the country.