Birth & Midwifery in Nepal
Resources for parents and practitioners

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Radha Devi Rana Bhat, Jita Baral and Laxmi Tamang

Radha Devi Rana BhatRadha Devi Rana Bhat, MSN, works in the fields of midwifery, women's health and development and reproductive health in Nepal. Radha has been educating other birth professionals, and developing and implementing training programs on reproductive health, midwifery and family planning since the early 1980s. Currently, Radha is a professor at the Tribhuvan University, Institute of Medicine, Nursing Campus in Maharajgunj, Nepal, where she guides bachelor and master level nursing students. Throughout her long, esteemed career, Radha has worked as a trainer and facilitator, teaching untrained Traditional Birth Attendants (TBA) for Plan International in Nepal; helped modify and adopt core competencies of skilled birth attendants in Nepal; and consulted in clinical skill assessment for the Nepal Safer Motherhood Project in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Jita Baral is a midwife as well as a midwifery clinical instructor in Nepal since 2005. She has completed her Bachelor in Nursing in Midwifery. She is the Birth Center coordinator at the Model Health Care Hospital in Pokhara. She says she hopes to promote midwifery practices to reduce the maternal and the neonatal mortality rate of Nepal, which is the highest in Asia.

Laxmi TamangLaxmi Tamang has a Bachelor of Nursing from Nepal and a Master of Public Health from the University of New South Wales in Australia. She has extensive experience working in different settings, with diverse communities, in hospitals, national and international developmental agencies and educational institutions since 1995.

Laxmi is committed to promote independent midwifery practice in Nepal to encourage natural, holistic and low intervention care for women wherever possible, while being vigilant in recognizing risks and acting promptly and responsibly to achieve safety and well-being to both mother and baby. Her goals are to work toward raising the standards of nursing and midwifery education in Nepal and to work persistently for safe motherhood and women’s empowerment. She helped to establish first and only independent nurse-midwives-led birthing centre in Nepal. Organizations she is a member of: Aadharbhut Prasuti Sewa Kendra (Founder, Managing Director) and Nepal Family Health Centre (Founding member).

Birth/Midwifery

Education

Basic Maternity Service Centre Established [1 April 2008]

In 2007, 11 Nepalese nurse-midwives teamed up to establish a freestanding 15-bed birthing centre in Kathmandu valley. It provides cost-effective quality maternal and child health services for urban poor families 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This includes antenatal care; delivery in a homelike environment, accompanied by partner or relative; postnatal care; home visits; free health camp; immunizations; STI case management and counseling; family planning; cervical cancer screening; comprehensive abortion care; integrated management of childhood illnesses and education and counseling relating to reproductive health issues and problems.

The organisation is named “Aadharbhut Prasuti Sewa Kendra” which in English means “Basic Maternity Service Centre.” All of the founders work there as volunteers. In Nepal, this is the first and only initiative taken by professional women to render direct health services to the poor women. Laxmi Tamang is the proud founder/manager of the centre.

The centre promotes natural vaginal delivery, and provides services to promote healthy pregnancy and normal childbirth. They would like to be a model in providing cost-effective quality women/couple/baby-friendly services. The founders also would like to open a midwifery school in Nepal, since no school or courses are currently available in Nepal. They also are interested in networking and fundraising. Their biggest concern is sustainability.

Laxmi Tamang