Increasing Accountability for Provision of Respectful Maternity Care in Nepal

Session: Demanding Accountability for Quality Maternal and Newborn Health Services: Lessons and Best Practices

Presenter: Sunil Shrestha, Safe Motherhood Network Federation Nepal
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Background: In Nepal there are incidences of disrespect and abuse in both private and government health facilities. To address the problem, Safe Motherhood Network Federation (SMNF) launched a campaign to increase visibility of the problem, mobilize citizens to demand provision of RMC and advocate for inclusion of RMC rights framework in the Safe Motherhood Bill.

Methodology: SMNF used media to raise awareness about RMC and facilitated community dialogues in five districts to amplify community voices and collect evidence to shape the integration of the RMC Charter into the Safe Motherhood Healthcare Bill. SMNF facilitated dialogues among key stakeholders including government agencies, non-governmental organizations, international non-governmental organizations, professional associations and health workers to support the inclusion of RMC in the draft Bill. In addition SMNF brought the issues of respectful care to the attention of political parties’ representatives and mobilized them to support the Bill and advocate to the Ministry and policy-makers to pass the Bill. To support health workers, SMNF produced a strategy paper that was ultimately presented to the Ministry of Health as a roadmap for instituting RMC training for health workers nationwide.

Results: As a result of SMNF’s efforts RMC rights framework and language was included into the national Safe Motherhood bill, thereby ensuring that RMC standards are incorporated into law and in-service curricula for all professional disciplines involved in providing maternal care. In addition, the Ministry of Health has charged SMNF with leading the development of an action plan for RMC training for all health workers in Nepal.

Conclusion: SMNF continues to mobilize community to demand their right to respectful care and demand that the government prioritize the need to train health facility employee and fund pilot training programs in 5 districts.