Every year, Nepal records around 539, 000 unintended pregnancies!
Most of the pregnancies occur in the absence of modern contraceptive methods. According to a report prepared by Guttmacher Institute and the Centre for Research on Environment, Health and Population Activities in Nepal, many women are not receiving the services they need.
Among Nepal women, who are of reproductive age and want to avoid pregnancy, 44 percent do not use contraceptives. They adopt a traditional method of family planning.
Moreover, only 64 percent of pregnant women in Nepal obtain the minimum of four antenatal care visits recommended by the World Health Organization, while only 61 percent deliveries are supported by a skilled birth attendant.
According to the report, the current cost of provisioning modern contraceptive services in Nepal is NPR 18 billion. In addition to the current users, it will cost a total of NPR 33 billion to cover all women in need of modern contraceptive methods.
The estimated cost of providing all pregnant women with a comprehensive package of maternal and newborn health care (with no change in contraceptive services) will cost NPR 135 billion, more than double the current costs.
However, if these initial investments were made in both sets of services simultaneously, then the annual costs of maternal and newborn care would only amount to NPR 104 billion. Increased contraceptive use will reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and eliminate related health care costs.
The study also proposes that for every additional rupee spent on extending modern contraceptive use, Nepal will be able to save NPR 200 on maternal and newborn heath care. This will allow the country to reduce maternal and infant death and disability.
Compared with 2017 levels, increased contraceptive service alone will result in 87 percent decrease in unintended pregnancies, 87 percent decline in induced abortion and a 16 percent decline in maternal death.
“Enabling women to determine when to have children through modern contraception is an effective strategy for reducing maternal and infant death and disability. Because women and couples in Nepal increasingly desire smaller families, the demand for modern family planning methods will only grow,” said Mahesh Puri, CREHPA Associate Director.
Governments at national, provincial and local, private sector and national and international will have to work collectively to fulfill this demand.