World Vision Emergencies
Press Release • Thursday, May 28th 2015

Earthquake affected mothers and newborns face further health risks in Nepal

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Kathmandu, Nepal – Pregnant women and newborns recovering from Nepal’s deadly earthquake are facing fresh health risks after more than one month on due to aftershocks and limited health care options in the country, international aid agency World Vision said today.

Fear of subsequent aftershocks is causing heavily pregnant women to stay at home rather than travel alone to health posts for check-ups.

With many women giving birth to stillborn babies and experiencing miscarriages during the April earthquake and the May 12 aftershock, fear of subsequent aftershocks is causing heavily pregnant women to stay at home rather than travel alone to health posts for check-ups.

Claire Beck, World Vision International’s Health and Nutrition Manager in Nepal, said that up to 90% of health facilities had been damaged in rural areas and that the limited health posts functioning were not prioritizing pregnant women and newborns while they cared for injured survivors.

“Hospitals are overwhelmed with people who have experienced injuries in the earthquake and the aftershocks, and pregnant women are not receiving the immediate medical support they need.” 

“Hospitals are overwhelmed with people who have experienced injuries in the earthquake and the aftershocks, and pregnant women are not receiving the immediate medical support they need,” said Ms Beck.

“Aftershocks are occurring almost daily, and heavily pregnant women have been falling on debris as they flee damaged buildings, which can have an enormous impact on their unborns.

“What’s more, pregnant women are in emotional distress – their homes have collapsed, many have lost loved ones and they’re living out in the open with the knowledge that they do not have access to health facilities should they have any complications. 

“This can have a detrimental effect on expectant mothers and their babies.”

As the monsoon season rapidly approaches, it is urgent that long-term shelter solutions are sought and that health support for pregnant women, lactating mothers and children is in increased, particularly in rural areas.

The monsoon season may lead to an increase in disease such as diarrhoea, with newborns and young children being particularly vulnerable to illness.

The monsoon season may lead to an increase in disease such as diarrhoea, with newborns and young children being particularly vulnerable to illness. Safe places for women, compassionate healthcare, information dissemination and psychosocial programs are vital at this time to help maintain the health and wellbeing of mothers and their children as the season starts.

Across the earthquake-affected areas World Vision has been distributing emergency shelter, hygiene supplies and household kits to survivors, as well as creating Child Friendly Spaces where children can safely play, learn and recover from the earthquake. 

To donate to World Vision’s Nepal Earthquake appeal to support the emergency response, please go to www.wvi.org/nepal-earthquake-appeal

END

Notes:

- World Vision’s emergency response in Nepal has reached 45,975 people with life saving relief supplies and emergency interventions. These include shelter kits, tarpaulins, ropes, blankets, hygiene kits, food and household items.

- 15 Child Friendly Spaces have also been created across earthquake affected areas to provide a safe place for children to play, learn and recover from the earthquake.

For more information contact:

David Munoz, Communications Manager for the Response, World Vision International
Mobile: 52155 3899 0978
david_munoz@wvi.org 

Sunjuli Singh Kunwar, Communications Specialist, World Vision International Nepal
Mobile: 9841-479107
sunjuli_kunwar@wvi.org