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EDUCATION AND ACCESS ARE THE KEYS TO IMPROVING 

MATERNAL & NEONATAL HEALTH

WHAT IS THE TERESE BASSI INITIATIVE?

The Terese Bassi Initiative is our maternal & neonatal health program in the Nawalparasi district of Nepal. We are working to save two lives following the critical first 42 days of a mother’s delivery and a baby’s new life.  At the 1789 Fund, our programs work directly within the existing health system to increase the ability of health workers to save the lives of both mother and baby. We seek to ensure that every woman can enjoy her right to maternal health and every child can grow up to achieve his or her full potential.
 

WHY IS IT NEEDED?

In Nepal, maternal and neonatal mortality are leading causes of death for young women and children. The overall maternal mortality ratio in Nepal is 258 deaths per 100,000 live births and the neonatal mortality rate is 54 deaths per 1,000 infants. In Nawalparasi, however, the mortality ratios are much higher than the national average due to the mountainous terrain and its resulting effect on families' inability to reach medical care. In Nawalparasi, the neonatal mortality rate is estimated to be between 126 to 174 deaths per 1,000 infants. This is three times the national average.  Newborn deaths are a significant problem in Nepal, accounting for over 60% of all child deaths. With neonatal mortality comprising the majority of child deaths, interventions targeting neonatal survival are essential. 
 

So what do these numbers mean? Every day, 4 women die and 36 newborns die in Nepal as a result of pregnancy or childbirth.

Why are women & babies dying in childbirth in Nawalparasi? 

  • Local health posts are understaffed - or not staffed at all,

  • Complications are identified too late,

  • 40% of births occur at home without clean, safe supplies,

  • Nurses are not thoroughly trained to care for mothers & babies,

  • Long distances to emergency care due to mountainous terrain,

  • No medications or supplies at local health post,

  • Families' inability pay for transportation in emergencies,

  • Need for community education on healthcare for mothers and babies,

  • Lack of family planning services,

  • Early age of marriage for girls,

  • Overall low status of women within community.

WHAT WE ARE DOING?

The 1789 Fund works in partnership with Green Tara Nepal to strengthen the capacity of Nepal's health system.  The Terese Bassi  Initiative supports the operation of two health posts in rural Nawalparasi and provides training for nurses giving them the knowledge and tools they need to care for both mother and baby. We are rebuilding health posts destroyed by earthquakes in 2015, supplying life-saving medication, and providing community education to families to improve the health of mothers and babies.  

 

The strategic objectives of the Terese Bassi Initiative are as follows:

  • Rebuild destroyed health posts,

  • Specialized training in obstetric and pediatric complications stressing importance of early recognition of warning signs in mother and baby,

  • Equip rural health posts with basic supplies for cleaner births to reduce rates of infections at birth for newborns and mothers,

  • Establishing a prompt and proper referral service for emergency and complicated cases to help women reach higher level facilities for urgent care,

  • Identification and treatment of newborn sepsis at the community level,

  • Distributing clean birth kits via FCHVs to mothers at risk of delivering at home,

  • Increasing access to information on reproductive health, family planning, maternal and infant health and well-being, and increasing awareness and support for mental health issues,

  • Implement breastfeeding training programs for nurses, community health workers and mothers to increase exclusive breastfeeding to effort to decrease infant diarrhea and malnutrition.