Govt may be able to bring down child mortality by two-third

Seven other MDGs may not be achieved, says report

Kathmandu, November 28:

Of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the government is most likely to achieve only one goal. The Ministry of Health and population (MoHP) is very close to achieving one of the MDGs of reduction of child mortality by two-third, says a report.

According to a preliminary report of the Nepal Demographic and Health Survey conducted by New Era and the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP), the under five-mortality rate has come down to 65/1000 live births while it was 91/1000 in 2001 according to the DHS, 2001. The report is yet to be made public.

While infant mortality has come down to 51/1000 in 2006 from 64/1000 live births in 2001, neonatal mortality has come down to 34/1000 in 2006 from 39/1000 live births.

Dr Mahesh Maskey, adviser to the Health Minister, said the major problem regarding the achievement of MDG goal is malnutrition and it could be addressed if there is social justice.

“Till now, we have been providing children supplementary foods and concentrated on awareness programmes,” said Dr Maskey, adding the children were deprived of even basis food.

“If the health programmes can be linked up with development programmes then the mortality rate caused due to malnutrition can be checked.”

Dr Sun Lal Thapa, programme manager at the Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI), Child Health Division, told this daily said that the disease burden has come down drastically. “The significant improvement were seen in the health sector as the sector was the least

affected during conflict,”

Dr Thapa said, adding: “There was a massive mobilisation

of health professionals to combat diseases.”

According to the Child Health Division, severe dehydration cases has gone down to 1.4 per cent in community-based IMCI district from 2.1 per cent last year.

The routine immunisation coverage is above 80 per cent, which is the WHO recommendation. The BCG coverage is 96 per cent, DPT3 coverage is 93 per cent and measles coverage is 87 percentage.

The total number of unimmunised children against DPT3 has come down to 52,108 while it was 146,756.

Despite these success stories, malnutrition rate is very high. “In order to address malnutrition, the government is starting school health and nutrition programme from this year. It has allocated Rs 10,000 per district for the programme,” informed Dr Thapa.

The government is also starting rehabilitation programmes for severely-malnourished children in Parsa and Janakpur.

Such types of programmes are already under way in Bheri, Koshi, Mechi, Mahakali zonal hospital. Dr Thapa said in order to address the problem the CHD has expanded the school immunisation programmes in 16 more districts. The programmes were launched last year in eight districts.