Article Origin- The Himalayan Times
KATHMANDU: The government is all set to take its drive to reduce neonatal mortality to more districts this year.
The move comes as the Nepal Demographic and Health Survey-2011 showed that neo-natal mortality rate –– number of newborns who die within 28 days of their birth –– has not gone down significantly in the last five years. The rate in the past five years has remained around 33 deaths per 1,000 live births, results from the survey showed.
The Child Health Division at the Health Ministry, which has been implementing the drive –– Community-based Newborn Care Package –– in 35 districts, is all set to take the programme to seven more districts.
“We were unable to considerably reduce neo-natal deaths in the past five years as the programme was introduced only in 2009 in nine districts. Results from the districts where we have been implementing the programme show that neonatal deaths have gone down,” said Dr Shyam Raj Upreti, director at the division.
Under the programme, Female Community Health Volunteers will visit newborns in the first, third, seventh and 28th day, said the director. He added they will provide counselling to the mothers and family members on protecting the newborns from various diseases.
“We are going to implement the community-based package in 42 districts to slash neo-natal deaths,” said Upreti. “We are hopeful that future surveys will show improvements in the area,” said the director.
According to the ministry, the leading cause of neonatal deaths is infection (36 per cent), birth of an under-weight child (27 per cent) and asphyxia (23 per cent).