Nepal: life and death without basic healthcare

The eyes of the world have been on West Africa in recent months, as the Ebola epidemic has spread fear across the region, and pushed fragile health systems to the brink.

We know that stronger health systems could have stopped Ebola in its tracks. But the state of affairs in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea is far from unique.

Our new Wake-Up Call report today reveals that there are 28 countries whose health systems would make them just as vulnerable to the outbreak of a disease like Ebola.

Myleene Klass cries as she talks to Soshma, 20,  who lost her first child to pneumonia two years ago because she could not afford healthcare.
Myleene Klass cries as she talks to Soshma, 20, who lost her first child to pneumonia two years ago because she could not afford healthcare. Photo: Suzanne Lee/Save the Children

Harrowing stories

With only one health worker to every 1,493 people (compared to one to every 88 in the UK) Nepal is one of the countries most at risk. Our ambassador, Myleene Klass travelled there recently to see first-hand the impact a lack of access to basic healthcare is having on young lives.

“As a mum, I know how terrifying it is to give birth, even with a trained midwife available to help,” says Klass, “But in Nepal I heard some harrowing stories.”

“I met mums who had to walk on foot or were carried for up to seven hours in a wicker basket to get to a clinic because there aren’t any ambulances; women who had to give birth by the side of the road without a health worker present; mothers who couldn’t afford basic medical care for their children – the result was horrifying, and always the same: children dying needlessly.”

More must be done

Save the Children is providing vital equipment to health centres in the country, training health workers and providing life-saving advice to mother – but more needs to be done to stop children dying from preventable causes.

The world woke up to Ebola, but not before thousands of lives had been lost. This year, world leaders have the chance to commit to ending preventable maternal, newborn and child deaths by 2030, and make a clear commitment to universal health coverage across the globe.

For the mothers of Nepal, the children of Ebola, and for all of our sakes, we must make sure that they grab this opportunity.

You can help: sign our petition now urging the UK government to lead the world towards the goal of ending preventable child deaths by 2030.

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