Nepal experiences major improvements in demographic and child health indicators
The Government of Nepal'sMinistry of Health and Population and USAID/Nepal jointly released the findings of the 2011 Nepal Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS), highlighting the health, social and economic status and trends in the country. At the seminar, authors of the survey presented key findings, underlining the changes in the most important demographic and health indicators over the past decade and factors contributing to the startling changes.
Some key findings include:
- Decline in fertility over the past fifteen years. Currently, women have an average of 2.6children during their lifetimes. This represents a substantial decline from the 2006average of 3.1 births.
- Family planning use has remained essentially the same since 2006. Use of female sterilization has dropped slightly, from 18% in 2006 to 15% in 2011, while male sterilization has increased, from 6% in 2006 to 8% in 2011. Use of traditional methods has also increased, from 4% in 2006 to 7% in 2011, mostly due to an increase in the use of withdrawal. The 2011 NDHS also reveals that 27% of married women have an unmet need for family planning – 10% for birth spacing and 17% for limiting.
- Infant mortality rate is 46 deaths per 1,000 live births for the five-year period before the survey, just two deaths below the infant mortality reported in 2006. Under-five mortality is 54 deaths per 1,000 live births, down from 61 deaths per 1,000 in 2006.
- Immunization coverage among children has slightly increased during this period. Currently, 87 percent of children aged 12-23 months are immunized against the six major childhood diseases whereas 83% of children were fully immunized in 2006.
- Nepalese children are better nourished than in the past. In children under five years of age, 41% are chronically malnourished, as measured through stunting, and 11% are wasted, a measure of acute malnutrition. While still high, these statistics represent a reduction from 2006 when 49% were stunted and 13% were wasted. Furthermore, the data show 29% of Nepalese children under age five are underweight in 2011, which is a decrease from 39% in 2006.
- Women’s health has improved over the last five years. In 2011, 58% women received antenatal care from a skilled provider, compared to 44% women in 2006, and more than one in three (36%) births are delivered with the assistance of a skilled birth attendant currently compared with less than one in five births (19%) five years ago. Similarly, institutional delivery has also increased from 18% in 2006 to 35% in 2011.
- Knowledge on HIV/AIDS has increased in the past 5 years with 86% of women and 97% of men in Nepal having heard of it.
The survey also collected information on gender-based violence for the first time in Nepal. More than 2 in 10 women (22%) have suffered from physical violence at some point since age 15. Additionally, 9% of women suffered from acts of violence during the past 12 months, and 12% of women have experienced sexual violence, with 6% of women reporting sexual violence experience in the year prior to the survey. The majority of women who have ever experienced physical and sexual violence reported that the perpetrator of the violence was the current husband.
The 2011 Nepal Demographic and Health Survey collected information from interviews with 12,674 women and 4,121 men, between the ages of 15 and 49 from a nationally representative sample across all regions of Nepal. The survey was implemented by New ERA under the aegis of the Ministry of Health and Population (MOHP) with funding from USAID. ICF International provided technical assistance for the survey through the MEASURE DHS program, a USAID-funded project providing support and technical assistance in the implementation of population and health surveys in countries worldwide.