Free maternity service gaining popularity

KATHMANDU: The Family Health Division under the Ministry of Health and Population has said the number of women taking free maternity service has increased significantly in the past year and has helped reduce maternal mortality rate.

Dr Shilu Aryal, senior consultant obstetrician/gynaecologist at the FHD said today the programme had helped bring about a significant change in the rate of women using free maternity services. The number of birth in health institutes was 194,246 in the fiscal year 2008/09, while the same stood at 155,750 the previous year. Although we are working to reach out to the target groups, challenges still lie ahead, Aryal said. The government launched free maternity services in January 2009 across the country with a view to reducing maternal mortality rate.

The MoHP has set a target of raising 40 per cent institutionalised delivery from 16 to achieve the Millennium Development Goal by 2017. “Although most of the women are aware about the risk and complications during pregnancy, they are reluctant to visit health centres due to lack of money,” Aryal said.

This programme has proved to be effective for these women, Aryal said, adding that the programme is one of the top priorities of the government.