Nepal | July 04, 2020

‘Make regulations to ensure reproductive health rights’

Sabitri Dhakal
Share Now:

As regulations have not been formulated till date, there is no uniformity in service charges at health facilities

Kathmandu, August 26

Although the Parliament endorsed the Safe Motherhood and Reproductive Health Right Act one-and-a-half-years ago, regulations related to the act are yet to be formulated.

Delay in formulating regulations has created confusion regarding standards. The provisions mentioned in the act haven’t been implemented.  The stakeholders have, therefore, demanded that the government come up with the regulation at the earliest.

The act states that non-governmental and private health institutions that meet the standard prescribed by the  government shall provide obstetric care in a dignified manner. Health institutions providing obstetric care shall make provisions related to health care of newborns as per the standard prescribed. “But due to lack of regulations and other by-laws, there is  confusion regarding the standard,” said advocate Sabin Shrestha.

The act also states that a licensed health worker, who has met the prescribed standards and has the required qualification should provide safe abortion service. “But the act does not explain the prescribed standard and required qualification which has led to more problems in implementing the act,” Shrestha added.

As no regulations have been formulated till now, there is no clarity in service charges of health facilities that provide reproductive health services. “There is no uniformity in the service charges imposed by hospitals,” added Shrestha.

The new act allows women to have abortion up to 12 weeks after pregnancy, but in the case of rape and incest, women are allowed to have abortion till 28 weeks of pregnancy. This act has not been implemented because there is no regulation. It has affected women with disabilities. When the family comes to know about pregnancy it’s already late. “This law will help such women,” said Madhabi Bajracharya, programme adviser at Ipas Nepal, an organisation that has been providing technical support to the Ministry of Health to initiate and expand safe abortion services in the country since the legalisation of abortion in 2002.

The act also states that private,  non-governmental and community health facilities and health workers shall make health services easily available,  and provide free health service to people who are unable to pay health service charges. But this provision has also not been implemented due to lack of regulations, according to Shrestha.

The act also has the provision for safe motherhood and newborn care. The health institutions providing emergency obstetric and newborn
care services should have separate rooms for pregnant women to rest, but most of the health facilities do not have these rooms.

“Non-governmental and private health institutions meeting the standard prescribed by the government shall provide emergency obstetric and newborn care. But we are not sure what sort of institutions ill provide emergency obstetric and newborn care,” added Shrestha.

A pregnant woman who wants to get safe abortion service should give her consent in the prescribed format to the health institution or the health worker conducting the abortion. “The format for consent has not been finalised yet due to lack of regulation,” Shrestha said.

The act has also not clearly defined family planning services. The act states that service related to family planning should be provided as prescribed. But no standards have been set in the act. “The government standard will be stated in regulations,” Shrestha added. Though the new act has been endorsed, we are
still working as per the old act due to delay in formulating regulations, according to Jageshwor Gautam, director of Paropakar Maternity and Women’s Hospital.

“In the absence of regulations, women cannot get maternity allowance, and maternity leaves. There are possibilities of problems if complications occur or some unfortunate incident takes place during abortion.

Disputes are likely to occur if regulations are not drafted on time,” said Aruna Uprety, a public health specialist.

“We have drafted the regulations. The draft will be released after sometime,” said Mahendra Shrestha, spokesperson
of the Ministry of Health and Population.

A version of this article appears in print on August 27, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.

Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

Farmers busy with paddy plantation

BHAIRAHAWA, JULY 2 Local farmers are planting paddy saplings despite the risk of coronavirus, in Bhairahawa. Farmers started planting paddy as fertiliser was easily available. Farmers are attracted to the government subsidy on fertiliser compared to the substandard fertilisers brought f Read More...

COVID tests not expanded in Sudurpaschim

BHIMDATTANAGAR, JULY 2 Sudurpaschim Province government has so far spent Rs 13.4 million on the purchase of PCR and RDT kits for conducting tests for coronavirus. Some days back, the province government had made public its expenditure on prevention, treatment and management of COVID-19. It Read More...

Tamor River, Taplejung district, Flooded river

Lack of bridge forces locals to risk lives

DHANKUTA, JULY 2 As there is no bridge over the Tamor River, locals of Sadamtar in Chaubise Rural Municipality and Teliya in Chhathar Rural Municipality, Dhankuta, are risking their lives while crossing the river. According to Chhathar Rural Municipality Ward 5 Chair Tek Bahadur Tamang, people Read More...

House wall collapse buries child to death

SAPTARI, JULY 2 A child died when a house that was being demolished crushed him at Siswa in Khadak Municipality, Saptari, today. Eeight-year-old Umesh Mandal lost his life after the wall of a house belonging to Babu Jha collapsed and buried him. Inspector Ramraja Keshari at Kadarbona Area P Read More...

Gandaki PA panel president donates perks to corona fund

POKHARA, JULY 2 Gandaki Province Public Accounts Committee President Kumar Khadka has declared he will be donating part of his facilities to the Corona Fund in the province. He made the announcement while tabling a protest notice on the bill tabled at the PA meeting proposing facilities for th Read More...

Family of deceased in dire straits

BAJURA, JULY 2 Six members of a family, who had lived in India for the last 24 years, returned to their hometown in Badimalika Municipality, Bajura, after the COVID-19 crisis affected their lives in India. Kalamati Damai, along with her ill husband and other family members returned to Majhigau Read More...

Actors take to social media to support Samragyee

KATHMANDU: Actors Reecha Sharma, Nisha Adhikari Malla, Priyanka Karki, Karma, Aashirman DS Joshi among other artistes from the Nepali film fraternity have come forward on social media to support Samragyee RL Shah who has shared a series of videos regarding her bad experience in the industry. “A Read More...

Bhuwan KC addresses ‘Samragyee’, appeals for investigation into allegations

KATHMANDU: Actor and producer Bhuwan KC took to Facebook on July 2 taking into account the posts that are “damaging his value and reputation” through videos uploaded on social media. He addressed a letter to “Samragyee” and notified her that he will take the required legal process to deal wi Read More...