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Basic emergency obstetric and newborn care service availability and readiness in Nepal: Analysis of the 2015 Nepal Health Facility Survey
Authors: Kiran Acharya, Raj Kumar Subedi, Sushma Dahal, and Rajendra Karkee
Source: PLOS ONE , DOI:
Topic(s): Maternal mortality
Neonatal mortality
Country: Asia
Published: JUL 2021
Abstract: Background: Achieving maternal and newborn related Sustainable Development Goals targets is challenging for Nepal, mainly due to poor quality of maternity services. In this context, we aim to assess the Basic Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care (BEmONC) service availability and readiness in health facilities in Nepal by analyzing data from Nepal Health Facility Survey (NHFS), 2015. Methods: We utilized cross-sectional data from the nationally representative NHFS, 2015. Service availability was measured by seven signal functions of BEmONC, and service readiness by the availability and functioning of supportive items categorized into three domains: staff and guidelines, diagnostic equipment, and basic medicine and commodities. We used the World Health Organization’s service availability and readiness indicators to estimate the readiness scores. We performed a multiple linear regression to identify important factors in the readiness of the health facilities to provide BEmONC services. Results: The BEmONC service readiness score was significantly higher in public hospitals compared with private hospitals and peripheral public health facilities. Significant factors associated with service readiness score were the facility type (14.69 points higher in public hospitals, P<0.001), number of service delivery staff (2.49 points increase per each additional delivery staff, P<0.001), the service hours (4.89 points higher in facilities offering 24-hour services, P = 0.01) and status of periodic review of maternal and newborn deaths (4.88 points higher in facilities that conducted periodic review, P = 0.043). Conclusions: These findings suggest that BEmONC services in Nepal could be improved by increasing the number of service delivery staff, expanding service hours to 24-hours a day, and conducting periodic review of maternal and newborn deaths at health facilities, mainly in the peripheral public health facilities. The private hospitals need to be encouraged for BEmONC service readiness.