Health ministry presents annual review report

Kathmandu, February 3

The Ministry of Health presented a joint annual review report on the progress made in the health sector recently.

The annual report summarised activities carried out by the ministry in the fiscal 2016/17, along with existing challenges and the way forward. The ministry said it had rebuilt and strengthened health systems and improved quality of care at point of delivery.

The ministry had developed Nepal Health Sector Strategy in 2015 for a five-year period considering the unitary system of government. The NHSS outlines nine outcomes measured through 29 indicators and 26 outputs with 56 corresponding output level indicators.

As per the report, the fundamental changes at the national level which have impacted the implementation of the NHSS were restructuring of the government at three levels, functional analysis and assignments which define the responsibilities of the federal, provincial and local levels, allocation of the health budget to local governments, amounting to 36 per cent of the total health budget.

The achievements made in 2016/17 were drafting of the National Health Act, drafting of the Health Institution Quality Assurance Authority Act, endorsement of the Health Strategy 2017-2020, formation of project coordination unit for post-earthquake reconstruction of health facilities, development of Nepal Health Infrastructure Development Standards and reconstruction of 276 of the 367 units of health facilities selected for repair and reconstruction, as per the report.

Likewise, the report states that the prevalence of anaemia among women between the ages of 15 and 49 years in the poorest quintile

declined but increased among women in the richest quintile resulting in a reversed equity gap between the richest and the poorest quintiles from 3.3 per cent in 2011 to -3.7 in 2116. The C-section rate among the poorest quintile increased from 2014 to 2016 from one per cent to 2.4 per cent. The increasing C-section rate among the richest quintile at 28 per cent is a national public health concern as this procedure comes with higher mortality and morbidity risks for mothers.

As per the annual report, the prevalence of diarrhoea declined amongst all quintiles as well as in geographical regions. The decline of prevalence was the highest amongst children in the poorest quintile (15.4 per cent to 5.9 per cent) and children in mountain areas (from 14.7 to 5.2 per cent) resulting in reversed equity gaps from 7.5 per cent points to -1.4 per cent points between the richest and the poorest quintile.

Similarly, it was also informed that in order to progress with federalism, various transitional activities were being executed by the ministry. Establishment of a federalism implementation unit at the MoH, deputation of health workers to local levels and drafting of the governance structure for the health sector are the activities being carried out by the ministry, it stated.