The government continues to render safe abortion services and counselling in family planning at home.

The service is primarily targeted at those who have barriers in accessing essential health care services and are unable to visit health facilities to seek services due to several reasons. The service was launched during the COVID-19 crisis.

Earlier, the Ministry of Health and Population had issued the ‘COVID-19 Pandemic: Interim Directives for Reproductive, Maternity, Neonatal, and Child Health Services, 2020’ and it was aimed at ensuring people’s access to reproductive, maternity, neonatal and child health services during the pandemic.

As per the directive, the service was launched considering the indigent, disabled, marginalized, sexual and gender minorities and HIV infected facing barriers in access to basic healthcare services.

Health workers make home visits to render services based on demands put forth through the ‘free helpline 1660014500 telephone service’ operated by the ministry and the Family Planning Association of Nepal.

The FPAN claims, the service is a milestone in enhancing people’s access to the means of family planning and continuing safe abortion services even during the grave crisis posed by COVID-19.

Family Welfare Division, Family Planning and Reproductive Health Branch Chief Kabita Aryal said, “Though family planning and reproductive health services were affected in the first and second phase of coronavirus pandemic, the services are now in operation.” The ratio of use of family planning service decreased to 37 from 39 during the pandemic, shared Aryal.

According to the World Health Organization, 10 per cent infant and 30 per cent maternal mortality rate will be reduced if two-year gap between the first and second child is maintained by using family planning service. Expansion of access to family planning services is considered mandatory to reduce maternal and child mortality rate.

Nepal Health Sector Strategy (2016-2021) has set the goal of lowering maternal mortality rate to 125 per 100,000 live births.