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Hospitals to procure suits to curb delivery bleeding

Hospitals to procure suits to curb delivery bleeding

The Ministry of Health and Population has allocated a budget to the health offices of 45 districts and all 20 federal hospitals throughout the country to purchase non-pneumatic anti-shock garments.

Officials hope the use of non-pneumatic anti-shock suits will help mitigate maternal deaths caused by excessive bleeding.

“We have started training health workers on the proper use of anti-shock suits,” said Nisha Joshi, a public health official at the Family Welfare Division of the Department of Health Services. “Rs300,000 has been allocated to purchase 40 non-pneumatic anti-shock suits for each health office and federal hospital. The health office will distribute the suits to hospitals to implement the safe motherhood programme.”

Officials said that the districts with high maternal deaths due to excessive bleeding have been prioritised for the purchase of the anti-shock suits.

The non-pneumatic anti-shock garment is a low-cost first-aid device that limits persistent postpartum bleeding. The technology applies external pressure to a woman’s lower body to drive the blood flow upwards.

Experts say the device reduces blood flow to the uterus and treats hypovolemic shock, an emergency condition in which severe blood or other fluid loss makes the heart unable to pump enough blood to the body. The special suit can keep a woman with postpartum bleeding alive for up to 48 hours. Without the suit, the woman may bleed out within 30 minutes. The device buys critical time to transfer a patient to a healthcare facility and provide her treatment. It is also lightweight, washable and can be reused, officials said.

The device is in use in many low- and middle-income countries of Africa and Asia, according to Joshi, and costs around 70 US dollars.

Excessive bleeding during or after childbirth is a major cause of maternal deaths in Nepal, which the authorities have been struggling to lessen for years. It is the largest direct cause of maternal mortality worldwide and is responsible for more than a quarter of the 300,000 estimated deaths each year.

Every year, hundreds of women in Nepal succumb to preventable deaths from excessive bleeding and high blood pressure, according to a report in the 2021 national census by the National Statistics Office.

The report, however, shows a significant decline in the maternal mortality rate; hundreds of women continue to die due to excessive bleeding and high blood pressure, especially in remote regions of the country.

The report showed that in every 100,000 live births, 151 women died from maternity-related complications. In the fiscal year 2022-2023, 107 women died of maternity-related complications, according to the health ministry.

Nepal had reduced the maternal mortality rate from 539 per 100,000 births in 1996 to 239 per 100,000 births in 2016—for which the country even received a Millennium Development Goals award. The report showed that 88 maternal deaths were prevented in every 100,000 live births between 2016 and 2021.

As part of its efforts to reduce maternal deaths, the health ministry has made it mandatory for women to make eight antenatal care visits and three postnatal care visits. The health ministry has introduced various programmes, including free institutional delivery service, and travel allowances for those opting for institutional delivery and antenatal visits. The ministry has also distributed misoprostol, a medication used to treat postpartum bleeding in new mothers, through female community health volunteers.

Nepal’s target under the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals is to reduce maternal mortality to 75 per 100,000 births by 2030. 

मल्टिमिडिया ग्यालरी

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