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Process indicators for safe motherhood programmes: their application and implications as derived from hospital data in Nepal

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Measuring maternal mortality ratios is fraught with problems and underestimates. Therefore process indicators have been proposed for monitoring the availability and use of obstetrics services. We report the results of process indicators for measuring the availability, use and quality of obstetric care in five districts in Nepal between 1997 and 1998. The number of comprehensive essential obstetric care (EOC) facilities was adequate for four of the five districts, but none had a minimum acceptable level of basic EOC facilities as set by UNICEF et al. The proportion of expected births in hospital was 21.5% in Rupandehi and < 5% in Baglung, Kailali, Okhaldunga and Surkhet. The minimum acceptable level is 15%. The ‘met need’ for obstetric care which pertains to the proportion of all women with direct obstetric complications that are treated in hospital was 14.9% in Rupandehi and < 5% in the other four districts, against the required minimum of 15%. The caesarean section rate calculated of all expected births in the population varied between 0.2% and 1.4%. The case fatality rate was 4.0% in Rupandehi Zonal Hospital. Analysis of these indicators clearly identified tremendous underuse of maternity services which has stimulated national policy discussions in Nepal with ensuing safe motherhood interventions and monitoring strategies.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2000-12-01

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