ROLPA: Maternal mortality is high in the district due to the failure to avail pregnancy and safe delivery services by the needy, health professionals have said.

Health officials and practitioners, at an interaction organised by Reproductive Health Coordination Committee (RHCC) Rolpa, said pregnant women do not visit health centres for regular check ups and deliver their babies at homes, causing high maternal mortality rate.

"Since most expecting women in the district deliver their babies at home, instead of a health facility, they face the death of themselves and their infants," chief of RHCC, Dr Shishir Dahal said. Many women do not use contraceptives, resulting in perennial child births, which causes the high maternal mortality rate, he added. Children have also been malnourished as a result.

According to Dahal, only 24 per cent women had their health checked during pregnancy last year. "However, the figure reached 83 per cent this year," he said, adding that unwanted pregnancy and illegal abortion had caused the deaths as well. Only 12 per cent pregnant women come to health facilities to deliver babies.

With belief that safe delivery service would decrease the mortality rate in both mothers and infants, 14 VDCs in the district have been operating Birthing Centres manned by an Assistant Health Midwife. Health workers said the number of women visiting Centres for pregnancy health check ups had increased. The number of women using contraceptives has reached 24 per cent against 20 last year.

Acting CDO Dhan Bahadur KC said there was a need of cooperation among all stakeholders to create public awareness so that the risks on women could be minimised. Today's meeting decided to put up hoarding boards and to organise health camps for public awareness.