With little over one year remaining to meet the millennium development goals target, the new government data paints a grim picture on maternal health condition, putting a question mark over country’s efforts to save lives of new mothers.
The population monograph of Nepal, which was released by the government today, shows that the maternal mortality ratio stands at 480 per 100,000 live births. According to National Demographic Health Survey figure presented in 2006, country’s MMR was 281, significantly down from 539 in 1996.
The new data puts in doubt the reliability of NDHS 2006 figure. If that figure is considered correct, it means that all efforts to improve maternal health since 2006 have been in vain.
The data is all the more controversial, as MDG Awards Committee, in collaboration with the United Nations Office for Partnerships, had awarded Nepal in September 2010 for its outstanding national leadership, commitment and progress towards achievement of the MDG related to improving maternal health.
A progress report on MDG released by the government in September 2013 also claimed that Nepal was on track to achieve five of the eight goals, including MMR, with significant progress made on maternal health.
According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, new MMR is based on the analysis of National Census 2011 in which maternal death is defined as death occurring while a woman is pregnant or within 42 days of termination of her pregnancy, irrespective of the duration and site of pregnancy, from any cause related to or aggravated by pregnancy, but not from accidental or incidental causes.
Going by the new ratio calculated from the census data, Goal No 5 of the MDG – 75 per cent reduction in the number of maternal deaths by 2015 – is far from being achieved.
Nepal is supposed to decrease maternal mortality ratio to 134 per 100,000 live births by 2015 to meet MDG target.
NPC has urged MoHP, UNFPA and CBS to review the findings related to MMR in the population monograph, as it will form the basis of further policy making and planning processes in nation’s health sector.