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Maternal health services utilisation in nepal: progress in the new millennium?

Aim: This review was to explore the range and pattern of maternal health services utilisation in Nepal over the past decade. Method: It is based on Nepal demographic and health surveys 2001 and 2006, and literature reviewed from across the globe and related to the Nepalese context. Different aspects of maternal health care, i.e. antenatal care (ANC), postnatal care (PNC), delivery care, skilled birth attendance (SBA) and family planning (FP) services were reviewed. Results: There is significant difference in utilisation of maternal health services according to the socio-economic status of women and geographical location. Several factors affect the uptake of maternal health services, including (a) the woman’s age, her level of education, employment and income, wealth, location (e.g. rural/urban, ecological and development region), and number of living children in the family. The review found that educated women, those who live in urban areas and central and western regions of Nepal, who are the better-off households, are more likely to use maternal health services than others. Similarly, women who have more than three living children are less likely to use maternal health services (except for family planning services) than others. Conclusions: It is suggested that the government should give priority to women from lower socio-economic groups in different community interventions (e.g. providing schemes for partial funding community payment or pre-payment schemes, insurance programmes, private or social insurance, through subsidies). The government should also prioritise the establishment of new health facilities in remote and less developed areas together with developing road links to major urban areas of Nepal.

Author(s): Baral Yuba Raj

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