Kathmandu, April 16 The government has decided to run a special campaign on safe motherhood in the year 2018-19 so as to reduce maternal mortality rate in the country and increase awareness of the issue. Minister of State for Health and Population Padma Kumari Aryal today inaugurated the campaign by felicitating five new mothers at a programme in the capital. “A safe motherhood fund will be set up in every municipality and it will be made available during childbirth,” said state minister Aryal. In the first phase of the campaign, government hospitals across the country will provide free services in screening of cervical cancer, breast cancer and fistula. The first phase will last from April to July. The second phase will run from July to October during which motherhood fund will be set up in all municipalities across the country. In the third phase from October to January, essay writing and elocution competition will be organised to raise awareness about safe motherhood and women’s reproductive health. From January to March, awareness programme on menstrual health and hygiene will be conducted among adolescent girls and sanitary napkins will be distributed to schoolgirls across the country. As per Nepal Demographic Health Survey 2016, maternal mortality rate for the period 2009 to 2016 was 239 deaths per 100,000 live births. Nepal has committed to reduce the maternal mortality rate to less than 70 per 100,000 live births by 2030.