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Female volunteers reduce child-mother mortality in Nepal
05 June 2007

Kathmandu, Nepal: Female community health volunteers have been contributing to stem child and maternal mortality rates in the last 10 years, said an analytical report on National Survey of Female Community Health Volunteer (FCHV) of Nepal disseminated on Monday.

Presenting the study report, Dr. Bal Krishna Subedi of Family Health Division, under the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) said that the FCHV was established in 1988 in 28 districts with one FCHV in each ward. The number of FCHVs increased to 50,000 in the later years.

The study found the median age of FCHVs being 38 years.
62 per cent are educated and 42 per cent have received primary school education. "But as for the delivery of services, there has not been much difference in the services being provided by them," said Dr. Subedi.
53 per cent of the women were found to be working for more than 10 years

About 47,000 FCHVs are working in rural areas and nearly 3,000 in municipalities. The survey shows that FCHVs are present in over 97 per cent in the rural wards of the country.

Director at the Department of Health Services (DHS) Dr. Sarala Malla said that every FCHV was provided 18-days basic primary health care training and a refresher training is organised every five year. Radio is an important secondary source of information.

Launching the report, Secretary at the MoHP Ram Chandra Man Singh said the works done by FCHV were exemplary. Maternal mortality has been reduced to 281 per 100,000.

He said that the Ministry would work in promoting their potentials and the government is serious about the improvement in health sector.

FCHV Bhubaneshwori Dhakal said that they were happy to work as volunteers at the community level. She said that they were facing different difficulties but were coping with them. She called on the government to provide identity to the volunteers wherever they might to choose to work inside Nepal.

Currently, 28 districts have a population-based programme. If this model were to be expanded to all districts, it will require 12,000 additional FCHVs.