Families in Nepal getting healthier: Report
By A Staff Reporter
Kathmandu, Nov. 14:Families in Nepal are getting healthier, according to the newly released 2016 Nepal Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) report.
The 2016 NDHS is the fifth DHS survey conducted in Nepal since 1996. The report was jointly launched by the Ministry of Health, USAID and New Era amid a function organised here on Monday.
The survey result highlights the major progress made over the last 20 years in maternal and child health care.
The 2016 NDHS Survey result shows that more children in Nepal are surviving early childhood than ever before, indicated by a sharp decline in under -five mortality, from 118 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1996 to 39 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2016.
However, this still means that approximately one in every 25 children in Nepal doesn’t survive until the fifth birthday, which requires a sustained focus on improving child health in Nepal.
Under the sustainable Development Goals, Nepal has committed to further decrease under-five mortality to 20 deaths per 1,000 live births by 2030.
Antenatal care coverage in Nepal is improving significantly. More than eight in 10 women are receiving antenatal care from a skilled provider such as a doctor, nurse and auxiliary nurse midwife compared to only three in 10 women in 2001.
Additionally, more women are attending four or more antenatal care visits, the report says.
The 2016 NDHS data show that 57 per cent of births are delivered in health facilities, a dramatic increase from 1996 when only 8 per cent of births were delivered in health facilities, the report added.
Yet, four in 10 births are delivered at home, putting women and newborns at risk from complications during delivery.
The survey also shows that women in Nepal have, on average, about two children. Fertility in Nepal has decreased by half over the past two decades, from 4.6 children per woman in 1996 to 2.3 children in 2016, the survey shows.
Declines in fertility rate have been the result of increased access to and use of family planning methods, the contraceptive prevalence rate has nearly doubled to 53 per cent over the past 20 years.
While the 2016 NDHS reports progress in many areas, challenges still remain. One-third of women and one in 10 men received no education. Basic vaccination coverage among children aged 12-23 months in 2016 was 78 per cent.
The 2016 NDHS report also shows that many children in Nepal suffer from poor nutrition. One sign of chronic under-nutrition is stunting, or being too short for one’s age, and despite improvement over the last 20 years, more than one-third of children in Nepal are stunted, the report reads.
For the first time, the 2016 NDHS measured blood pressure among women and men aged 15 years and above. Of concern is that 17 per cent of women and 23 per cent of men are hypertensive, or have high blood pressure, alarming rates for a condition that is a leading to a risk factor for stroke and heart disease.