Essential newborn care after home delivery in Nepal


Abstract Aims: Postnatal care of the newborn is essential in order to reduce neonatal mortality. Nepal has made great efforts to improve maternal and child health by focusing on accessibility and outreach over the past decades. This study aims to examine trends, over the past decade, in levels and equity of facility delivery rates and the provision of newborn care after home delivery in Nepal. Methods: Household-level data from the Demographic Health Surveys (DHS) 2006 and 2011 and the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS5) from 2014 performed in Nepal was sourced for the study. Coverage rates of facility delivery and newborn care after home delivery were calculated and logistic regression models were used to ascertain inequity. Results: Home delivery rate dropped from 79.2% in 2006 to 46.5% in 2014, a development showing an inequitable distribution, with a larger share of better-off families shifting to facility delivery. For those who still delivered at home there was an increased rate of early initiation of breastfeeding and adequate temperature control, but only 2.2% of women delivering at home received a home visit by a health professional in the first week of delivery. No inequity in receiving newborn care after home delivery could be detected. Conclusions: There have been significant improvements in facility delivery rates over the last 10 years in Nepal and postnatal care at home has improved. There is, however, an alarmingly low level of home visits during an infant’s first week. Key Words: Postnatal care, newborn, home delivery, Nepal, equity, socioeconomic determinants