Investing in the wellbeing of underage children is a worthwhile undertaking (Skolnik, 2012). Many developing nations prioritize the health of their children to realize their economic goals. Unfortunately, the developing world continues to grapple with the problem of child mortality (Skolnik, 2012). The social and economic attributes of a nation dictate the health outcomes of its children. This paper gives a detailed analysis of the leading causes of death in children under five years in Nepal. The essay goes further to explain how this developing country has implemented evidence-based strategies to prevent these deaths.
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Leading Causes of Child Mortality in Nepal
There are various causes of mortality in young Nepalese children. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 20 percent of the country’s children below the age of five are affected by Vitamin A deficiency (Khatri, Mishra, Khanal, Gelal, & Neupane, 2016). Consequently, many children suffer from various diseases such as measles and prolonged diarrhea. Babies who do not get adequate vitamin A have higher chances of dying prematurely. Measles has continued to affect many children between the age of 2 and 5 years. Childhood diarrhea is another condition affecting many young children. Studies have also shown conclusively that the two illnesses affect more children above the age of five.
Impacts of the Health and Social Determinants
The health and wellbeing of a community are dictated by a number of determinants. Some of the health determinant factors include the presence of medical institutions, provision of adequate resources to tackle diseases, public awareness, and government intervention. Childhood diarrhea has remained a major concern in this country because of inappropriate hygiene practices. More often than not, many people are forced to drink unsafe water (Skolnik, 2012). Many mothers do not breastfeed their babies for the required period. Non-breastfed babies have increased chances of developing diseases such as measles. The availability of vaccines is another major determinant of health in Nepal.
The social practices embraced by many citizens in the country dictate their health outcomes. For instance, the people engage in a number of cultural practices and religious rituals. During such celebrations, they eat various food materials without promoting appropriate hygienic practices. Very few initiatives are undertaken to educate parents about the importance of hygienic in Nepal. Vaccines are used to prevent various diseases such as diarrhea, phenomena, and measles (Bangura et al., 2016). However, many children in remote areas might not be vaccinated. Due to such gaps, these diseases continue to cause mortality in children between one and five years.
The first successful intervention to minimize the deaths associated with measles and childhood diarrhea was implemented in 1993 by the Nepalese government (Khatri et al., 2016). The government collaborated with UNICEF and USAID in an attempt to produce desirable results (Khatri et al., 2016). These players established the National Vitamin A Programme (NVAP) to reduce the number of deaths arising from vitamin A deficiency. Since then, young children are provided with vitamin A capsules. The campaign also encourages women to breastfeed their babies for more than twelve months. Additionally, the campaign has played a positive role towards dealing with other diseases such as blindness and malnutrition. This example shows conclusively that more developing nations can implement similar measures to deal with these leading causes of child mortality.
The government of Nepal has gone further to address the problem of child mortality from different perspectives. Neonatal mortality has been taken seriously in the nation. To safeguard the wellbeing of underserved children, several community-based programs have been implemented in the county. Some of these programs include birth preparedness, safe motherhood, and integrated management (Khatri et al., 2016). The main objective of such programs is to ensure more people in the community are educated and equipped with adequate skills. Such competencies can make it easier for more people in the community to prevent the major childhood illnesses (Bangura et al., 2016). This fact explains why the number of deaths resulting from diseases such as measles and diarrhea has declined significantly.
Bangura et al. (2016) indicate that effective coverage has not been realized in Nepal. This is the case because these two diseases continue to claim the lives of many underage children in Nepal. The success of the above interventions is affected by a number of obstacles such as lack of funds, insufficient support, ineffective human resource (HR) initiatives, and proper environments. These gaps explain why “new measures should be considered to maximize the utilization of the available resources” (Khatri et al., 2016, p. 21). It will also be appropriate to implement new strategies that have the potential to deal with these two diseases.
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This analysis shows conclusively that measles and diarrhea claim the lives of many children below the age of 5 in many developing nations. Despite the economic problems affecting Nepal, the government has been implementing various initiatives to produce positive results. New initiatives and improvements will play a positive role towards supporting the health needs of many Nepalese children (Bangura et al., 2016). This move will eventually support the social and economic attributes of this developing nation.
Bangura, A., Ozonoff, A., Citrin, D., Thapa, P., Nirola, I., Maru, S.,…Maru, D. (2016). Practical issues in the measurement of child survival in health systems trials: Experience developing a digital community-based mortality surveillance programme in rural Nepal. BMJ Global Health, 1(1), 1-7.
Khatri, R., Mishra, S., Khanal, V., Gelal, K., & Neupane, S. (2016). Newborn health interventions and challenges for implementation. Front Public Health, 4(1), 15-24.
Skolnik, R. (2012). Global health 101. Burlington, MA: Jones and Bartlett Learning.