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Nepal’s Maternal Deaths Rise

As Nepal’s Maternal Deaths Rise, UN Calls On All Sides In Conflict To Respect Rights

Amid credible reports that a large number of Nepalese women have died in childbirth because they could not reach medical help due to the fighting between Government and rebel Maoist forces, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has called today on all parties to facilitate humanitarian aid and respect human rights.

“It is vital that supplies reach women and children as soon as possible and that access to health services is not blocked,” UNFPA Executive Director Thoraya Ahmed Obaid said. “The health and safety of people must be assured. This is especially important for pregnant women so they can deliver their babies in conditions that are safe and healthy.”

According to several sources, the number of women dying from pregnancy-related complications far exceeds the total number of people killed in the conflict in the Himalayan kingdom.

Women in Nepal already face a 1 in 24 risk of dying during pregnancy and childbirth, and current levels of insecurity, conflict and blockades further heighten this risk. Some 6,000 women die each year from complications of pregnancy and childbirth, and most of these deaths could be prevented.

The conflict in Nepal is robbing women of their right to health and children of their right to education, and it is denying far too many people in Nepal the most basic human right, the right to life, UNFPA stressed

“All leaders share a common responsibility to guarantee the health and welfare of the people of Nepal and to build a lasting peace,” Ms. Obaid said. “The needs of women and children must be a priority.”

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