Safe maternity services reach rural settlements of BaglungIn the last two years, birthing centres have been established in all six wards of Tamankhola Rural Municipality.
Tika Chhantyal, 45, of Tamankhola Rural Municipality Ward No. 6 in Baglung faced a lot of difficulties while giving birth to her first child at home. Her neighbour also died due to complications while giving birth at home.
Remembering her labour pain and difficulties, she used to advise her neighbours to stay in the bazaar area during the time of their child delivery, as the nearest health post was at least a day’s walk away from her village.
But the situation in Tamankhola has changed now. In the last two years, birthing centres have been established in all six wards of the rural municipality.
“In the past, there were no maternity services available in the rural areas. Only three of the six wards in the rural municipality had health posts,” said Chhantyal. “We had to reach Palpa Hospital to get surgeries, as the Primary Health Centre in Burtibang did not have that facility.”
But now, the rural municipality has established five community health units with maternity services for pregnant and postpartum women in the rural areas.
Joklal Budha, chairman of the rural municipality, said, “We have appointed 30 health workers through the internal investment of the rural municipality. Each of the birthing centres has skilled workers, including two auxiliary nurse midwives and an assistant. We invest Rs 10 million for the management of health workers in the health facilities of the rural municipality every year.”
The health units have been established in five places of ward numbers 1, 4 and 6.
“The rural municipality had invested Rs 20 million for medical equipment and physical infrastructures of the health units,” Budha said.
Currently, pregnant and postpartum women can receive maternity services along with a C-section facility in Burtibag.
Garima Harmel, the in-charge at Khunkhani Health Post, said, “Almost all pregnant women in the local unit have started giving birth in the birthing centre since last year. They have also started regularly visiting health facilities for pregnancy and postpartum checkups. We only refer pregnant and postpartum women to Burtibang if their conditions are critical.”
According to her, 32 women in the rural municipality safely gave birth to their babies in the last fiscal year.
“This year, we have already provided services to four pregnant women. There are 17 others awaiting their delivery,” Harmel said.
The rural municipality has established three health units in Narjakhani, Bhitriban and Patle that provide regular OPD services and conduct health checkups of pregnant and postpartum women.
“These days, women can easily visit health facilities in the bazaar area if any complications arise during their pregnancy. Narjakhani has been connected with road networks now,” said Laxmi Chhantyal, chief at the Narjakhani Community Health Unit.
The rural municipality has also been working to end child marriage for the last three years. Kul Bahadur Chhantyal, a ward chairman of the rural municipality, said, “Very few cases of child marriage have been reported in recent days. The rural municipality does not provide services to those households that marry off their children below the age of 20.”