“Everything is below average in those two provinces, health outcomes, inequality, poverty, institutional deliveries,” says Bhatta.
But One Heart has found that simple interventions like training nurses in resuscitation of new-born babies, or preventing infections can bring down neo-natal deaths dramatically. Nepal’s average neonatal death ratio has fallen to 16 for 1,000 live births, but is stagnating and there is a glaring imbalance between rich and poor families.
After handing over facilities in Dhading district, it found that there was a dramatic decrease in maternity cases in the district hospital because babies were being delivered at rural birthing centres, and institutional deliveries in the district had soared to 90%.
Bhatta admits that the two provinces will be “very challenging” to work in given scattered settlements in the mountainous Karnali and the densely-populated plains of Madhes Province.
For example, its birthing centre in Laxmipur of Sarlahi handles 1,000 deliveries a year, many times more than even the district hospital in Dunai of Dolpo.
Says Bhatta: “Nepal faces so many challenges, and every little contribution you make, makes such a huge difference. That is why a partnership like One World is so fulfilling.”
3 Nepali mothers still die daily at childbirth, Marty Logan
Midwives to the rescue in Nepal, Laxmi Tamang