KATHMANDU, Feb 27: Birthing centers in the remote VDCs of Kathmandu have been affected by load shedding, as they have not been able to provide delivery service in lack of alternate source of electricity.
The District Public Health Office (DPHO), Kathmandu, said that the centers have been referring women with labor pain to the big hospitals in the metropolis.
"Protracted load shedding and the lack of infrastructures is a big challenge for us to run the service smoothly," said Sri Krishna Bhatta, chief of Kathmandu DPHO.
Bhatta concedes that some of the centers could not even conduct single delivery since their beginning.
"Though we have hired auxiliary nurse midwives for 24-hour delivery service and installed necessary set up, we have not been able to provide services due to other problems," Bhatta added.
The Kathmandu DPHO has been running birthing centers in eight remote VDCs of the district. The office said that Thankot, Nanglebhare, Gokarna, Lapsiphedi, Tokha, Chunnikhel and two other VDCs have their own birthing facility.
The Primary Healthcare Centre (PHC) in Tokha started a birthing facility some four months ago, but it has not yet provided a single delivery service. The center has been sending women in labor pain to the big hospitals in the city by its own ambulance.
"We do not have sufficient equipment," said Manik Ratna Shakya, chief of centre, adding," We do not have alternate source of light to run the center during load shedding." He also said that the center does not even have autoclave machine to sterilize equipment. Shakya said that he has approached to DPHO and logistic management division for necessary equipment but to no avail. In absence of required facility, the center has been providing only antenatal check-up service.
Arun Kumar Giri chief of Nanglebhare health post, where a birthing center was launched 16 days ago, said no one has come to the center for delivery service so far.
Nanglebhare which lies 34 kilometers from the metropolis is the most remote VDC of Kathmandu district and has no other health institution.
"Over 85 percent women in our VDC give birth at home," said Giri, adding, "We have been creating awareness among village residents about the importance of delivering at a health institution. I hope they´ll start coming to the center soon." He said that currently the center has been providing antenatal check-up services to over 30 women.
Likewise, Dipesh Shrestha, chief of Chunnikhel PHC, said that the center has been carrying out one delivery a month on an average. "We are not in a position to install solar power and poor electricity supply is not enough," he said.
Dr Silu Aryal, chief of Safe Motherhood Program at the Family Health Division, said, “It is the responsibility of Katmandu DPHO to arrange alternative source of power at birthing centers to run the service smoothly.” The Ministry of Health and Population launched safe motherhood program across the country to reduce maternal mortality rate.