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Care to help newborns survive in Nepal

Oct 16, 2012

Plan Nepal is running an awareness programme for pregnant women in mid-western region of the country to teach parents better practices to keep their children healthy, happy and alive.

Ramawati

With only 3 years until the 2015 deadline to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, 2 goals – to save more lives of mothers* and children* – remain significantly off-track.

An estimated 7,600,000* children under the age of 5 die every year, more than 70% of them in Africa and Southeast Asia. About two-thirds of these deaths are caused by preventable diseases, while more than one-third of all child deaths are linked to malnutrition.

For 75 years, Plan has been working in remote, impoverished parts of the world to teach parents better practices to keep their children healthy, happy and alive.

Stillbirths and neonatal deaths

In Piprahawa village in Nepal’s Mid-Western region, Ramawati Kori lost her first 4 babies: her first was a stillbirth and the next 3 died within days.

“All my babies were delivered at home without the support of a health worker. My family did not opt for a hospital delivery since they did not know about it,” the 24-year-old said. She and her family knew nothing about antenatal care or the causes of neonatal death.

According to the latest national demographic survey, Nepal’s neonatal mortality rate is 33 per 1,000 live births, compared with 32 in India and 4 in the United States.

Key to saving children’s lives is safe childbirth and good neonatal care, especially during the first 28 days when nearly 40% of under-5 deaths occur. Educating expectant mothers and families is essential.
Lessons in health education

Ramawati first learnt by radio of support for her pregnancy, including free delivery services at health institutions. A local NGO Geruwa Rural Awareness Association and Plan were organising pregnant women groups, so Ramawati joined the monthly meetings in the third month of her fifth pregnancy.

She learnt about the importance of institutional delivery and physiological changes during pregnancy, as well as danger signs during pregnancy, labour and after giving birth.

Ramawati gave birth by caesarian section to a healthy 2.8-kg girl on her due date.

“I had her immunised against measles when she was 9 months old. I breastfed her and feed her [a high-protein porridge], bananas and vegetable soup,” Ramawati said, expressing hope that Plan and Geruwa would continue their awareness programme for pregnant women. “It helps save the lives of the mothers and newborn babies in our community.”

SOURCE: Plan International

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