Neonatal mortality in Nepal can be reduced:Study

October 22, 2019

My Republica, October 22, 2019

Kathmandu,  Nepal has the potential of decreasing the death of babies at birth by 21 percent, according to a pilot study conducted by the government two years ago.

The study found that the reduction is possible by improving the quality of resuscitation facility at public hospitals.  The Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) informed that foreign health researchers together with MoHP officials evaluated to scale up the Quality Improvement (QI) intervention package at 12 public hospitals across Nepal in 2017-18 for a research. 

This research provided a quality improvement intervention package. It consisted of building leadership and accountability for perinatal care ,  introducing and training neonatal resuscitation standards and Essential Newborn Care(ENC), daily drill to practice neonatal resuscitation skills on a mannequin, quality of metric score card for quality of neonatal resuscitation and establishing the outcome of care at public hospitals. 

The research titled “Effect of a scaled up neonatal resuscitation quality improvement package on intrapartum related mortality in Nepal: A stepped-wedge cluster randomized controlled trial” published on 9 September this year showed that 13,000 neonatal deaths occurs annually. One third among them die in the first week of their birth.

After the implementation of the project for 18 months, (covering stepped wedge manner) in 90,000 births, the evaluation showed a 21 per cent reduction in intrapartum related mortality. Dr Deepak Jha, a Senior Public Health Officer at the MoHP said that the government has been taking steps to work for quality improvement of neonatal resuscitation. He said for starters, a six-day training is being provided to medical doctors and nurses at public hospitals. Quality resuscitation training is a one-day course to train the health workers.  

“There is a pressure to reduce preventable neonatal mortality to 12 per 1,000 live births by governments to meet the aim of Sustainable Development Goals for 2030,” added Jha. 
According to the above research, every year 1.2 million stillbirths take place during labor and one million die during the first day of life globally.

Ninety-nine percent of these deaths are found in South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa and two thirds of the deaths are due to poor quality of care during birth.