Health facilities facing shortage of vital drugs for pregnant women, new mothers

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Health facilities facing shortage of vital drugs for pregnant women, new mothers

Kathmandu, February 9

Health facilities in Kathmandu Valley are facing shortage of essential drugs like ‘magnesium sulphate’ due to delay in procurement.

Magnesium sulphate (MgSo4) is an essential drug for controlling seizures associated with pre-eclampsia and eclampsia. Eclampsia is one of the main causes for maternal death in the country.

Community nursing officer Keshu Kafle said health budget had already been allocated to the local levels to buy essential drugs including oxytocin, which are used to stop excessive bleeding in new mothers during delivery. Eclampsia should be available at every health facility because if a woman in labour needs to be referred to another heath facility, she should be injected with the first dose of eclampsia.

Similarly, if a pregnant woman develops seizures before and during delivery or after 42 days of delivery, she must be given this drug to control seizures. Lack of timely intervention in such cases may lead to the death of a patient due to breathing difficulties.

Government of Nepal has invested millions of rupees to control maternal death but it has all gone down the drain. A survey carried out in the year 2016 shows that the current maternal mortality rate is 239 per 100,000 live births while it was 281 in 2006 and 543 in 1996.

Community nursing officer Keshu Kafle further said there was a need to find out why the government’s efforts failed to control maternal mortality rate, adding that local levels must take the responsibility to control this.

“It is local level’s responsibility to release the budget on time for purchase of medicines. Many health facilities are facing medicine crunch due to delay in releasing health budget for health facilities,” she said, drawing the attention of the chiefs of local levels towards this problem.

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