The maternal death rate in Banke has not dropped despite the government investing billions of rupees in maternal safety measures. According to the District Public Health Office, 14 women died in the first six months of the current fiscal year 2021-22, compared to 35 deaths in each of the previous fiscal years 2020-21 and 2019-20.
Six women have died in the Nepalgunj Sub-metropolis, and reports have suggested these fatalities are due to complications resulting from pregnancy and/or childbirth. This region has the highest maternal mortality rate in the district.
According to Bishnu Shrestha, coordinator of the Mother Safety Program and public health nurse at the office, 3 women were declared dead in Janaki Rural Municipality, 2 each in Rapti Sonari and Narainpur regions, and one woman in Kohalpur Rural Municipality, all due to reasons pertaining to intricacies during pregnancy or childbirth.
“The maternal mortality rate is disturbing even in open regions like Nepalgunj,” Shrestha remarked. The Madheshi and Muslim groups have higher maternal mortality rates. The deceased people were between the ages of 19 and 35. She explained that fifty percent of these women died before having their first kid, whereas 36 percent of those who had their first child died.
According to Shrestha, 15% of women died during childbirth, 40% died after childbirth, and 34% died within 48 hours following childbirth. According to Sr. gynecologist of Bheri Hospital Nepalgunj, Dr. Kalpana Thapa, the high mortality rate is due to the fact that most women do not seek medical help until they are in a serious situation.
“These women don’t go to the doctor on a regular basis. They only go to the hospital if they are in a life-threatening situation. Doctors subsequently are unable to save them,” she stated. “Some people suffer from chronic illnesses like increased blood pressure, thyroid difficulties, and diabetes. Hospitals alone will not be able to eliminate maternal mortality; it must be adopted at the community level.”
Similarly, Dhir Jung Shah, the Head of the District Health Office in Banke, stated that the department has been undertaking numerous attempts to minimize the maternal death rate. “Despite the fact that our primary focus is on the rising maternal mortality rate in health facilities, we cannot improve the situation on our own,” he stated. Child marriage, a lack of nutrition, and becoming pregnant before reaching the necessary age, he claims, are all contributing factors to the rise in maternal mortality rates.