Panel formed to review MMR status

Rajan Pokhrel
Kathmandu, February 28
The government has decided to conduct a technical review of the maternal mortality related data collected in the national census.A 13-member committee coordinated by National Planning Commission member Yagya Bahadur Karki has been set up to review the analysis of maternal mortality data after a population monograph published by the Central Bureau of Statistics put the country’s maternal mortality ratio at 480 per 100,000 live births, implying that the country is far from meeting its MMR target of 134 under the MDGs-2015.


According to Karki, a study panel has been formed after the Ministry of Health and Population sought NPC’s help to recheck the current MMR, which has highly confused the health policymakers as well as the multilateral donors who have already invested billions of dollars in country’s health sector.The committee comprises Dr Senendra Raj Upreti, Director General, Department of Health Services as deputy coordinator. Dr Padam Bahadur Chand, Chief, Policy Planning and International Cooperation Division are members. Other members of the committee are CBS Director General Bikash Bista, Deputy DG Rudra Suwal,

Head of the Central Department of Population Studies Ram Saran Pathak and experts including Puspa Lal Joshi, Laxmi Bilash Acharya, Bal Gopal Vaidya, Bharat Sharma, Ajeet Pradhan, Bishnu Nepal and Mahesh Puri. “The committee will soon recheck the technical processing and analysis of the scary figure related to deaths of new mothers, while being pregnant or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy, from any cause related to or aggravated by pregnancy,” Karki told this daily.In 2006, National Demographic Health Survey put the country’s MMR at 281, down from 539 in 1996 while the United Nations agencies including WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA and the World Bank estimates from 1990 to 2013 also claimed that Nepal drastically reduced maternal deaths by 75 per cent with latest MMR at 190. 

MDG Awards Committee, in collaboration with the UN Office for Partnerships, had also awarded Nepal in 2010 for its outstanding national leadership, commitment and progress towards achievement of the MDG related to improving maternal health.The large discrepancy between the major estimates reveals the difficulty of measuring maternal mortality, which makes it even harder to track its progress in Nepal, according to Sameh El-Saharty, Senior Health Policy Specialist in the Health, Nutrition and Population Global Practice of the World Bank. “Strengthening vital registration and use of systems intelligence to triangulate different sources of data will be key to address such a challenge,” he said.

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