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Airlift saving lives of women in labour complications



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By Arpana Adhikari

Kathmandu, Nov. 14: It was about a year ago, when a pregnant woman of Chankheli Rural Municipality-4 of Humla district was going through prolonged labour complications for four days.
A day after she got the labour pain, Nira Shahi, 22, was rushed to local heath post in a hope to ease her delivery.
The health post also failed to treat her as it lacked the basic facilities and medical experts to deal with such complicated cases.
Even after four days of labour, she was unable to give birth to her baby. She was referred to a well-equipped hospital because her life was at the risk if an immediate operation was not carried out.
Her family tried their best to save her life, but all their efforts went in vein. Because of their poor financial condition, taking her to the big hospital was impossible for them.
Furthermore, the village she belonged had no road connectivity and could be reached only after four-day of walk from the district headquarters. But thanks to the President Women Upliftment Programme (PWUP), Shahi was airlifted immediately to Surkhet hospital and her life was saved.
Following the information from the chief administrative officer of Humla, the President Women Upliftment Programme Coordination Unit established in the Ministry of Women Children and Senior Citizens (MoWCSC) in Kathmandu chartered a chopper to airlift Shahi to the hospital.
The government in line with the (PWUP), introduced Rescue Procedure 2018 for pregnant and nursing mothers residing in the remote areas who are at risk.
Shahi became the first beneficiary of this programme after it came into effect on December 21, 2018.
Like Shahi, the programme has turned out to be a boon for many pregnant and nursing mothers of the remote areas of the country where proper medical facilities required for the patients are not available and have no road-connectivity.
After the programme was introduced some 13 months ago, 54 pregnant and lactating mothers of Humla, Dolpa, Kalikot, Jajarkot, Mugu, Accham and Bajura, among other districts, have been rescued. While this news was being filed, the Unit was preparing to rescue three more women on Wednesday afternoon, who were at risk.
According to Anju Gautam, Under-Secretary at the ministry, the process was going on to rescue three pregnant women from Jajarkot, Dolpa and Panchthar districts.
Gautam said of the total women rescued, majority of them were aged between 20 and 30 years, while the number of pregnant women aged below 20 years were also high.
“The ministry has developed the procedure for providing quality and dependable medical service to the pregnant and lactating women facing the risk of death if not rescued and airlifted to a hospital immediately,” said Minister for Women Children and Senior Citizen Tham Maya Thapa.
The progarmme has succeeded to save life of many mothers and new-born babies from the far-flung villages, said Minister Thapa.
“It has not only saved the life of pregnant and lactating women of remote areas, but has contributed to reducing the infant and maternity mortality rate too. It has helped in implementing the right to safe maternity and reproductive health as set out in the Constitution,” Minister Thapa highlighted.
According to the Unit, the expenses are being paid by the government to the helicopter companies while
the government has chosen different government hospitals at all seven provinces to provide treatment to the rescued women.
The MoWCSC in coordination with the Ministry of Home Affairs has been providing the rescue service once it comes to notice that a pregnant or new mother should be immediately airlifted to a hospital for treatment or else she may die.
After receiving such information from local representatives, health workers or anyone, the Unit in Kathmandu directs the air service

provider to airlift the woman to the nearest hospital where necessary medical service are available, she added.
The programme is now available to women of Darchula, Baitadi, Bajhang, Doti, Accham, Jajarkot, Dailekh, Mugu, Kalikot, Jumla, Humla, Dolpa, Taplejung, Sankhuwasabha, Bhojpur, Panchthar, Terhathum, Khotang, Okhaldhunga, Solukhumbu, Dolakha, Sindhupalchowk (Oanchpikhari, Thampalathap, Helambu and Jugal rural municipalities), Rasuwa and Dhading (Ruby Valley Rural Municipality) districts.
Similarly, in Gorkha (Sulikot, Arughat, Siranchowk, Gandaki, Ajirkot, Dharche and Chumnubri rural municiplaities), Baglung (Dhorpatan and Galkot municipalities, Badigad, Nisikhola, Bareng, Tarakhola, Kanthekhola, Tamankhola and Jaimuni rural municipalities), Manag, Mustang, Myagdi, eastern and western Rukum and Salyan districts the service is available.