Implementation of safe abortion service law dismal
The law has explicitly defined safe abortion related service as women’s health right. However, the service has not yet been effective in lack of the implementation of the law.
Huge numbers of women have been facing health risk in course of unsafe abortion due to dismal status of the law implementation. In some instances, women have lost their lives while going through unsafe abortion.
Even the government does not have data as to how many women lost their lives due to unsafe abortion in Nepal.
The Safe Abortion Service Programme Management Directives, 2078, recently issued by the Ministry of Health and Population, has authorized local level to grant permission to service providers to operate services related to abortion.
Still most of the local governments have not been able to deliver the service. According to Chandragiri municipality, they have not been able to run the service for their inability to impart training to nurse and doctors for the same.
Law has given us the authority but we have not been able to deliver the service in lack of trained human resource at the municipality
Health Section Chief of the municipality, Rammani Ghimire said, “Law has given us the authority but we have not been able to deliver the service in lack of trained human resource at the municipality”.
Only making law does not ensure effective delivery of services, he said, adding, “Only with proper coordination among federal, provincial and local levels, the services related to abortion will run effectively”.
it was delayed to address myriad of public health issues when focus was laid on the management of COVID pandemic
Likewise, Tarakeswor municipality has not been able to safe abortion service. Health Section Chief of the municipality, Binod Kumar Sah said, “it was delayed to address myriad of public health issues when focus was laid on the management of COVID pandemic”.
Nepal is a forerunner country in terms of framing adequate laws to make safe abortions service effective. The country had legalized safe abortion in before almost 20 years so as to ensure women’s reproductive rights.
In order to bring it into implementation, the health ministry has formulated and enforced ‘National Policy, 2060’. Article 38 (2) of the Nepal Constitution has guaranteed women with safe motherhood and reproductive health rights. The Safe Motherhood and Reproductive Health Right Act, 2075 and Regulation 2077 have been in place.
Despite constitutional and legal guarantees, the safe abortion service has yet to come under the reach of beneficiaries.
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