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      Home delivery and newborn care practices among urban women in western Nepal: a questionnaire survey

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          About 98% of newborn deaths occur in developing countries, where most newborns deaths occur at home. In Nepal, approximately, 90% of deliveries take place at home. Information about reasons for delivering at home and newborn care practices in urban areas of Nepal is lacking and such information will be useful for policy makers.


          A cross-sectional survey was carried out in the immunisation clinics of Pokhara city, western Nepal during January and February, 2006. Two trained health workers administered a semi-structured questionnaire to the mothers who had delivered at home.


          A total of 240 mothers were interviewed. Planned home deliveries were 140 (58.3%) and 100 (41.7%) were unplanned. Only 6.2% of deliveries had a skilled birth attendant present and 38 (15.8%) mothers gave birth alone. Only 46 (16.2%) women had used a clean home delivery kit and only 92 (38.3%) birth attendants had washed their hands. The umbilical cord was cut after expulsion of placenta in 154 (64.2%) deliveries and cord was cut using a new/boiled blade in 217 (90.4%) deliveries. Mustard oil was applied to the umbilical cord in 53 (22.1%) deliveries. Birth place was heated throughout the delivery in 88 (64.2%) deliveries. Only 100 (45.8%) newborns were wrapped within 10 minutes and 233 (97.1%) were wrapped within 30 minutes. Majority (93.8%) of the newborns were given a bath soon after birth. Mustard oil massage of the newborns was a common practice (144, 60%). Sixteen (10.8%) mothers did not feed colostrum to their babies. Prelacteal feeds were given to 37(15.2%) newborns. Initiation rates of breast-feeding were 57.9% within one hour and 85.4% within 24 hours. Main reasons cited for delivering at home were 'preference' (25.7%), 'ease and convenience' (21.4%) for planned deliveries while 'precipitate labor' (51%), 'lack of transportation' (18%) and 'lack of escort' during labor (11%) were cited for the unplanned ones.


          High-risk home delivery and newborn care practices are common in urban population also. In-depth qualitative studies are needed to explore the reasons for delivering at home. Community-based interventions are required to improve the number of families engaging a skilled attendant and hygiene during delivery. The high-risk traditional newborn care practices like delayed wrapping, bathing, mustard oil massage, prelacteal feeding and discarding colostrum need to be addressed by culturally acceptable community-based health education programmes.

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          Socioeconomic and physical distance to the maternity hospital as predictors for place of delivery: an observation study from Nepal

          Background Although the debate on the safety and women's right of choice to a home delivery vs. hospital delivery continues in the developed countries, an undesirable outcome of home delivery, such as high maternal and perinatal mortality, is documented in developing countries. The objective was to study whether socio-economic factors, distance to maternity hospital, ethnicity, type and size of family, obstetric history and antenatal care received in present pregnancy affected the choice between home and hospital delivery in a developing country. Methods This cross-sectional study was done during June, 2001 to January 2002 in an administratively and geographically well-defined territory with a population of 88,547, stretching from urban to adjacent rural part of Kathmandu and Dhading Districts of Nepal with maximum of 5 hrs of distance from Maternity hospital. There were no intermediate level of private or government hospital or maternity homes in the study area. Interviews were carried out on 308 women who delivered within 45 days of the date of the interview with a pre-tested structured questionnaire. Results A distance of more than one hour to the maternity hospital (OR = 7.9), low amenity score status (OR = 4.4), low education (OR = 2.9), multi-parity (OR = 2.4), and not seeking antenatal care in the present pregnancy (OR = 4.6) were statistically significantly associated with an increased risk of home delivery. Ethnicity, obstetric history, age of mother, ritual observance of menarche, type and size of family and who is head of household were not statistically significantly associated with the place of delivery. Conclusions The socio-economic standing of the household was a stronger predictor of place of delivery compared to ethnicity, the internal family structure such as type and size of family, head of household, or observation of ritual days by the mother of an important event like menarche. The results suggested that mothers, who were in the low-socio-economic scale, delivered at home more frequently in a developing country like Nepal.
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            Barriers to and attitudes towards promoting husbands' involvement in maternal health in Katmandu, Nepal.

            Couple-friendly reproductive health services and male partner involvement in women's reproductive health have recently garnered considerable attention. Given the sensitive nature of gender roles and relations in many cultures, understanding the context of a particular setting, potential barriers, and attitudes towards a new intervention are necessary first steps in designing services that include men. In preparation for a male involvement in antenatal care intervention, this qualitative study specifically aims to: (a) understand the barriers to male involvement in maternal health and (b) explore men's, women's, and providers' attitudes towards the promotion of male involvement in antenatal care and maternal health. In-depth interviews were conducted with fourteen couples and eight maternal health care providers at a public maternity hospital in Katmandu, Nepal. Additionally, seventeen couples participated in focus group discussions. The most prominent barriers to male involvement in maternal health included low levels of knowledge, social stigma, shyness/embarrassment and job responsibilities. Though providers also foresaw some obstacles, primarily in the forms of hospital policy, manpower and space problems, providers unanimously felt the option of couples-friendly maternal health services would enhance the quality of care and understanding of health information given to pregnant women, echoing attitudes expressed by most pregnant women and their husbands. Accordingly, a major shift in hospital policy was seen as an important first step in introducing couple-friendly antenatal or delivery services. The predominantly favorable attitudes of pregnant women, husbands, and providers towards encouraging greater male involvement in maternal health in this study imply that the introduction of an option for such services would be both feasible and well accepted.
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              Financial implications of skilled attendance at delivery in Nepal.

              To measure costs and willingness-to-pay for delivery care services in 8 districts of Nepal. Household costs were used to estimate total resource requirements to finance: (1) the current pattern of service use; (2) all women to deliver in a health facility; (3) skilled attendance at home deliveries with timely referral of complicated cases to a facility offering comprehensive obstetric services. The average cost to a household of a home delivery ranged from 410 RS (5.43 dollars) (with a friend or relative attending) to 879 RS (11.63 dollars) (with a health worker). At a facility the average fee for a normal delivery was 678 RS (8.97 dollars). When additional charges, opportunity and transport costs were added, the total amount paid exceeded 5,300 RS (70 dollars). For a caesarean section the total household cost was more than 11,400 RS (150 dollars). Based on these figures, the cost of financing current practice is 45 RS (0.60 dollar) per capita. A policy of universal institutional delivery would cost 238 RS (3.15 dollars) per capita while a policy of skilled attendance at home with early referral of cases from remote areas would cost around 117 RS (1.55 dollars) per capita. These are significant sums in the context of a health budget of about 400 RS (5 dollars) per capita. Conclusions The financial cost of developing a skilled attendance strategy in Nepal is substantial. The mechanisms to direct funding to women in need must to be improved, pricing needs to be more transparent, and payment exemptions in public facilities must be better financed if we are to overcome both supply and demand-side barriers to care seeking.

                Author and article information

                BMC Pregnancy Childbirth
                BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
                BioMed Central (London )
                23 August 2006
                : 6
                : 27
                [1 ]Department of Community Medicine, Manipal College of Medical Sciences, Pokhara, Nepal
                [2 ]Department of Pediatrics, Manipal Teaching Hospital, Manipal College of Medical Sciences, Pokhara, Nepal
                [3 ]Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Manipal Teaching Hospital Manipal College of Medical Sciences, Pokhara, Nepal
                Copyright © 2006 Sreeramareddy et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Research Article

                Obstetrics & Gynecology


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