Women in Nepal are 30 times more likely to die during childbirth than their peers in the UK – comparable to the level during the Industrial Revolution in the UK.
On average, a young mother in Nepal dies every four hours and a new-born every 20 minutes due mainly to lack of health facilities and the cost of treatment.
Although maternal mortality is still high, there have been been improvements following the introduction of free delivery and other support through the Safe Motherhood Programme (SSMP), co-funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID).
The programme has contributed to a 46 per cent reduction in the number of women dying in or around childbirth, down from 526 per 100,000 to to 281 per 100,000.
Since 2001 the number of women giving birth in a government health facility has doubled to 18 per cent. If predictions that this figure will rise to 37 per cent by 2015, it will save the lives of about 800 mothers and 11,500 newborns every year.