Chhaupadi, a cultural tradition where menstruating women and post-partum mothers are exiled from home, is claiming the lives of many newborns in the district.
Whereas they need utmost care, post-partum mothers are compelled to live in huts during and post-delivery period.
Putali Sara Sharki of Himali Rural Municipality gave birth to five children in the shed. She said her two kids died due to cold-related diseases as she had to stay in the shed for a month after delivery.
Similarly, Rela Rokaya lost her baby within a month of delivery as she could not provide proper care for her newborn. “I gave birth to a baby in the hut. But I could not save my baby,” she lamented.
A local, Saraswati Budathapa of the rural municipality said infant mortality rate in the district had increased as women had to work hard even during pregnancy and the post-partum mothers had to stay in a shed without basic facilities, for a month.
Prem Kala Malla, an auxiliary midwife at Rugin Health Post, said most newborns in the remote areas lost their lives inside the huts.
Senior Assistant Health Worker Ram Chandra Yadav of District Hospital, Bajura, said suffocation and infection from cold-related diseases were main reasons behind the death of newborns.
A record maintained by the hospital shows that many newborns died within 28 days of birth, inside a hut.
According to Rugan Thapa, a staffer at the statistics department of the hospital, as many as 18 newborns died in 28 days in the fiscal year 2018-19. Similarly, 17 newborns died in the fiscal 2017-18 and 69 in 2016-17.
A version of this article appears in print on May 19, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.