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IRIN Examines Maternal Mortality In Nepal

IRIN examines maternal mortality in Nepal, writing, “Observed declines [in the maternal mortality ratio (MMR)] since the early 1990s make Nepal, together with Bangladesh, the most recent ‘success story,’ comparable to countries like Malaysia, Thailand and Cuba that gained ground decades earlier, Julia Hussein, lead author of a 2011 medical appraisal of Nepal’s MMR reduction, told IRIN.” The news service provides statistics and writes, “Experts are still deciphering the past decade’s declining MMR in Nepal.” IRIN continues, “Nepal’s success is explained by many factors, said Kabiraj Khanal, the Ministry of Health and Population’s under-secretary.”

“Top reasons identified by health practitioners were fertility declines, societal changes and government programs to enhance both supply and demand of maternal care,” IRIN notes, adding, “Hussein found improvements in women’s education, empowerment, wealth, and living standards were also strongly associated with a declining MMR.” The news service continues, “While the country is on track to achieve its Millennium Development Goal of cutting MMR by three-quarters of its 1990 level (down to 134 deaths per 100,000 live births), the government is cautious,” and writes, “While health experts applaud Nepal’s declining [MMR] in recent years, they say this gain is unsustainable if the country does not address its lack of qualified health staff, especially midwives, to keep women in childbirth alive” (3/18).