Safe motherhood projects
Our work in Nepal began in 1997, managing the Nepal Safer Motherhood Project, which ran until 2004. We worked with the Family Health Division in ten districts to reduce maternal deaths in Nepal. The project improved the quality of public maternity services and by working with local groups, enabled more women to use such services. Nepal Safer Motherhood Project also supported the development of national safe motherhood policies and plans from drawing on district experiences this informed national policy and by supported national initiatives, such as legalisation of safe abortion.
From 2005-2010, we ran the Support to the Safe Motherhood Programme (SSMP), providing embedded technical support to the government of Nepal to improve maternal and newborn survival. SSMP worked in collaboration with government and non-government stakeholders to support evidence-based planning, strategy and policy development at state and district levels leading to support implementation. We supported the development of key policies, strategies and protocols including: skilled birth attendant policy; blood products protocol; procurement in maternal and newborn health policy; the remote area strategy; the maternity incentive scheme and free delivery policy.
The programme raised the profile of maternal health by increasing the numbers and use of skilled birth attendants and emergency obstetric care services. We implemented DFID’s largest demand side programme (equity and access) which contributed to increased and more equitable use of maternal newborn and child health services. The SSMP programme helped to strengthen the health management information system, including the establishment of emergency obstetric care monitoring across 19 districts and has supported the Government of Nepal in the development and implementation of a monitoring and evaluation programme for the new free delivery care policy.
During this 14 year period, maternal mortality halved from 539 to 281 deaths per 100,000 live births (Nepal Demographic and Health Survey, 2006).
Maternal mortality halved from 539 to 281 deaths per 100,000 live births between 1997 and 2010