White Ribbon Alliance


Safe Motherhood Network Federation Nepal

Sunil Shrestha
National Coordinator


Dr Arzu Rana Deuba
Board Chair


Anam Magar
Kathmandu, Nepal

tel: 977 1 4223015
tel: 977 1 4223013

Email: WRA Nepal Headquarters

Email: National Coordinator

Capital City
Lifetime risk of maternal death
1 in 190
Maternal Mortality Ratio
Births attended by skilled personnel
Source: World Health Statistics 2015, WHO

Countdown to 2015: Maternal, Newborn, & Child Survival. Click here for the Nepal country profile.


UN Secretary General’s Every Woman Every Child commitment:

Nepal commits to recruit, train and deploy 10,000 additional skilled birth attendants; fund free maternal health services among hard-to-reach populations..

Click here to read the full commitment.


In Nepal, women in childbirth are routinely experiencing disrespect and abuse in health facilities. Urban hospitals are the worst, according to a small sample survey by White Ribbon Nepal (SMNF). This is not only a human rights violation, but it puts pregnant women off seeking the health care that could save their lives in emergencies.

Women told the White Ribbon team that they had been pinched, pushed and hit by health staff, as well as facing rudeness and lack of information in health facilities. This caused such anger that women were resolved not to go back to the facility, either staying at home, or going further afield – and telling their friends not to go there either. "I felt emotionally abused due to my poverty," said one woman. "I came to the hospital to seek support, so why should I get verbally abused?" said another. Yet very few of the women survey – only 3 out of 11 – knew they had a right to better care.


What’s more, the survey revealed that not only clinical staff, but other workers such as receptionists are handing out abuse. "This could be because people are more likely to know each other in smaller rural health centres, so their behaviour to each other is better," said Dr. Arzu Rana Deuba, President of White Ribbon Alliance Nepal. The stress of working in urban maternity wards where there is only one clinical staff per 20 women in labour (compared to one to 1.5 in the UK) is no doubt a factor.

As a result of these findings, the focus of the Nepal team’s campaign for Respectful Maternity Care (RMC) will be on the big urban hospitals, and the aim is for all health facility employees to receive practical training to deliver respectful, rights-based maternity care. These efforts are supported by the USAID-funded Health Policy Project.


Meanwhile, White Ribbon Alliance Nepal plans to use its extensive national network to mobilize women and communities to demand their rights to respectful care. At the same time, the Alliance will press the government to provide and fund Respectful Maternity Care trainings.

Next steps will be to identify hospitals in five Districts for pilot trainings, and then to use the evidence of improvements to make the case for extending the trainings across Nepal.


White Ribbon Alliance Nepal continues its work with IPAS to provide information on safe abortion services to communities while training health providers in nine Districts.

The Alliance is also working with ADRA Nepal, ADRA Japan and the Government of Nepal to build and equip birthing centers. Last year saw the completion of six health centers in three Districts; in 2014, a further five are under construction.