Politics of childbirth in Nepal: the case of the maternal mortality ratio

Jeevan R. Sharma, Radha Adhikari

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Nepal has been hailed as a global success in reducing the maternal mortality ratio from around 540 women dying per 100,000 births in 1996 to about 240 in 2016. The chapter will critically analyse two interventions implemented around 2005. First, we will look at the USAID-funded Nepal Family Health Programme, through which oral misoprostol (to control bleeding after delivery) was launched across Nepal. Second, we will look at Aama Surakshya Karyakram (or mother programme), which was implemented to promote institutional delivery. These two programmes, despite aiming to address high maternal mortality ratio in Nepal, adopted very different approaches, reflecting ideological struggles on women’s agency and the politics of childbirth. The chapter concludes that the costs of these changes (such as the lack of resources or the commercialization of healthcare) have been overlooked in the claims of Nepal’s ‘success’
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationChildbirth in South Asia
Subtitle of host publicationOld Paradoxes and New Challenges
EditorsClémence Jullien, Roger Jeffery
Place of PublicationNew Delhi, India
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)9780190130718
Publication statusPublished - 18 Nov 2021


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