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Antenatal care in Nepal: From Helicopters to Stipends

The Ministry of Social Development and Paropakar Maternity and Women’s Hospital is conducting various upliftment programs for pregnant women

2022 Mar 28, 12:36, Nepal
Helicopter used for rescue programme for pregnant women going through birth-related complications.

In Lower Middle-income countries, antenatal care plays a significant role to lessen maternal mortality. Though there are almost 363 birthing centres across villages in the province, yet the plight of pregnant women and mothers remains deplorable. In 2018, the provincial government started the helicopter rescue programme for pregnant women who go through birth-related complications. This upliftment is an initiative to save the lives of mothers at childbirth.

According to the Ministry's report, the service is for pregnant women in areas not connected by roadways. And the helicopter facility is available in 48 districts. The report also yields that around 32-33 pregnant or new mothers lose their lives every year, before the start of the helicopter services in the province.

They have made an air med-evac of 339 mothers till now from various parts of the country. These women might not have survived if they didn’t get urgent hospital treatment. As-yet, one woman from Baglung died while she was being airlifted to Kathmandu as she suffered from excessive bleeding.

According to the information officer of the Ministry of Social Development, Gyanendra Parajuli, he says, “Only this fiscal year from Shrawan till Chaitra, 123 pregnant women were rescued. So, we can see that this upliftment is a huge success.” Besides rescuing pregnant women, they also carry out rescue operations for newborns (up to 28 days) who experience health-related complications.

Baby being delivered in Prasuti Griha. Photo: Facebook/Prasuti Griha
Baby being delivered in Prasuti Griha. Photo: Facebook/Prasuti Griha

Similarly, located in Thapathali, Paropakar Maternity and Women’s Hospital is also known as Prasuti Griha. It is the first maternity hospital of Nepal established in August 1959. The hospital is named after the late king Mahendra (then the Crown Prince) as ‘Paropakar Shree Panch Indra Rajya Laxmi Maternity Hospital’, in memory of Late Indra Rajya Laxmi Devi Shah (then Crown Princess), who died during her pregnancy.

About 200-300 women deliver their babies in this hospital in a day. The hospital also has some conveniences available on behalf of pregnant women. Speaking to Dr. Shree Prasad Adhikari says, “During pregnancy, if they come for regular checkups at least 4 times then they are given 200 rupees per visit. So basically, they get 800 rs plus 2000 rs as taxi fare.” If the visit is for less than 4 days, then they are not given 800 rs at all. They would be only given 2000 rs.

“This system was recently changed in order to pursue or encourage pregnant women to seek antenatal care and visit the hospital from time to time for regular checkups”, Adhikari adds. “We also do free delivery for those who are in the general ward. But we take delivery charges for those in the cabin. We ask them beforehand if they want to take the general ward or cabin. It’s their own decision”, he concludes.


antenatal care maternal mortality Pregnant new mothers Airlifted huge success rescued woman Baglung Paropakar Maternity and Women’s Hospital Prasuti Griha excessive bleeding
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