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The Availability of Emergency Obstetric Care in Birthing Centres in Rural Nepal: A Cross-sectional Survey

Abstract

Objective

The purpose of this health system’s study is to assess the availability of Emergency Obstetric Care (EmOC) services in birthing centres in Taplejung District of eastern Nepal.

Methods

A cross-sectional survey was conducted in 2018 in all 16 public health facilities providing delivery services in the district. Data collection comprised: (1) quantitative data collected from health workers; (2) observation of key items; and (3) record data extracted from the health facility register. Descriptive statistics were used to calculate readiness scores using unweighted averages.

Results

Although key health personnel were available, EmOC services at the health facilities assessed were below the minimum coverage level recommended by the World Health Organisation. Only the district hospital provided the nine signal functions of Comprehensive EmOC. The other fifteen had only partially functioning Basic EmOC facilities, as they did not provide all of the seven signal functions. The essential equipment for performing certain EmOC functions was either missing or not functional in these health facilities.

Conclusions for Practice

The Ministry of Health and Population and the federal government need to ensure that the full range of signal functions are available for safe deliveries in partially functioning EmOC health facilities by addressing the issues related to training, equipment, medicine, commodities and policy.

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Acknowledgements

The authors are grateful to Taplejung District Health Office authority for granting permission to conduct this study. The authors would also like to acknowledge the health workers who gave their valuable time to the study. The authors received no funding for this study.

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Correspondence to Amrit Banstola.

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Banstola, A., Simkhada, P., van Teijlingen, E. et al. The Availability of Emergency Obstetric Care in Birthing Centres in Rural Nepal: A Cross-sectional Survey. Matern Child Health J (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10995-019-02832-2

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Keywords

  • Emergency obstetric care
  • Signal functions
  • Birthing centres
  • Maternal health
  • Services utilisation