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Saving lives

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014
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USAID has awarded Government of Nepal on Wednesday for its efforts to save newborns through implementation of Chlorhexidine Cord Care Program.

Visiting USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah presented the USAID Pioneers Prize to the Government of Nepal for its leadership in usage of chlorhexidine to decrease neonatal mortality rates. The award was accepted by Praveen Mishra, Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Population.

In 2011, Nepal took a pioneering step to adopt chlorhexidine as part of the country’s neonatal care package. Application of the low-cost antiseptic gel has been proven to cut risk of infant death by 23 percent, and serious infections by 68 percent. This initiative has been implemented in 41 districts in the country. Chlorhexidine was developed in Nepal and is now exported to Nigeria, Madagascar and Liberia.

“It is an honour to see cutting-edge innovations in maternal and child survival that are not only saving lives right here in Nepal but are also being adopted around the world to help end the outrage of preventable child death,” USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah said at the programme.

Shah said that USAID is working in partnership with the Ministry and community health workers to bring chlorhexidine to newborns in all parts of Nepal in the next three years.

Speaking at the programme Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Population Praveen Mishra pointed out that progress is limited by geographical constraints and need to make behavioral changes.

“We need to scale up this effort and take it to every nook and corner of the country,” Secretary Mishra said. “Our partners are ready to support us.”

The programme was followed by an exhibition of Nepal’s innovations in health, including mapping of Nepal’s health facilities, female health volunteers and testing techniques for pre-eclampsia and eclampsia in women.

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