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Features


‘Cowshed’ only shelter for lactating mothers in Nepal's Bajura

‘Cowshed’ only shelter for lactating mothers in Nepal's Bajura

Kathmandu, May 13 (UNI) Lactating mothers are not directly allowed to go to their home after they give birth to their babies in most of the villages of Bajura district.

They are instead forced to stay in a cowshed, according to a report by Prakash Singh in The Himalayan Times.

The report says that Dharma Buda of Swami Kartik Rural Municipality in the Bajura district, who gave birth to a baby 17 days ago, now has to stay in the shed for a month.

It has been reported that Buda has been staying in the shed with a small hole which is the only ventilation for the new baby, and surrounded by livestock like ox and chicken. Also, there is no electric power in the shed.

Similarly, the condition of Surindra Kathayat is no less than the same. After giving birth to a boy in a health post, she was also compelled to stay in a shed.

Local social leader, Jandevi Buda shared that the practice of sheltering lactating mothers in the shed for the first month after giving birth was very common in Wai village in the district. “As many as five women of the village, who have recently given birth have been sheltered at the shed.

Nandasar Sarki of Himali Rural Municipality-6, who gave birth to five babies at intervals also stayed in the shed for the first month of giving birth shared, “I lost my two children due to coldness in the shed.”

It has been learnt that most of the lactating mothers of the north-eastern region of Bajura district are forced to stay in the shed for the first month after delivering babies.

Auxiliary Health worker of the Rugan Health Post, Dhan Bahadur Phadera said that the practice of giving birth in the shed and lactating women sheltering in the shed were also unexceptional in Humla, Mugu, Jumla, Kalikot and Dolpa districts of the Karnali province. Phadera added that about 80 per cent of the lactating mothers are compelled to stay in the shed.

As the risk factors are higher for both mother and child in the shed, the government has introduced allowance to encourage the mothers to give birth in the hospitals. The new mothers are granted an allowance of three thousand rupees under the condition that they deliver their babies in a health institution; the allowance includes the amount of Rs 800 to Rs 3,800 for an antenatal checkup and warm clothes in Karnali’s five districts as well as in Bajura’s health institution.

Chiranjeevi Shahi, Chairman of Swami Kartik Rural Municipality lamented, although the awareness about the risk factors of giving birth in the shed has been raised, the problem has still not minimised.

It has been learnt that millions of rupees have been spent by various NGO’s and INGO’S to solve the problems of lactating mothers and women delivering babies but in vain.

UNi SNU 1627

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