Better Cord Care Saves Babies' Lives in Nepal
In Nepal, despite recent efforts to increase deliveries attended by a skilled provider, fewer than 20 percent are reached with such care. Much of the population faces significant geographic barriers to care, and a large proportion of newborns are exposed to poor hygiene conditions over their first few days of life. Nearly 70 percent of infant deaths occur within the first month of life, the most common cause being infection. A trial in Nepal has shown that risk of death can be reduced by 24 percent with application of the antiseptic chlorhexidine (CHX) to the umbilical cord stump. In four pilot districts, JSI has tested and successfully shown a multi-channel distribution approach, relying primarily on a nationwide cadre of female community health volunteers (FCHV) who already provide other antenatal care (ANC) support. JSI proposes scaling up these approaches as a realistic strategy to rapidly and sustainably achieve high coverage of CHX application to the newborn cord stump, nationwide.