An assessment of immediate newborn care readiness and availability in Nepal

Glob Health Action. 2023 Dec 31;16(1):2289735. doi: 10.1080/16549716.2023.2289735. Epub 2023 Dec 12.


Background: Global neonatal mortality necessitates access to immediate newborn care interventions. In Nepal, disparities persist in the readiness and availability of newborn care services within health facilities.

Objective: This study aimed to assess this status and compare facilities that had implemented an intensive newborn resuscitation capacity building and retention programme in the past five years with those that had not.

Methods: Our observational cross-sectional study involved 154 health facilities across Nepal. Through on-site inspections and maternal log reviews, we evaluated the immediate newborn care readiness and availability.

Results: The mean immediate newborn care intervention availability score of 52.8% (SE = 21.5) and the readiness score averaged 79.6% (SE = 12.3). Encouragingly, 96% of facilities ensured newborns were dried and wrapped for warmth, and 69.9% provided newborn resuscitation. Practices such as delayed cord clamping (42.0%), skin-to-skin contact (28.6%), and early breastfeeding (63.5%) showed room for improvement. Only 16.1% of health facilities administered Vitamin K1 prophylaxis.Domain-specific scores demonstrated a high level of facility readiness in infrastructure (97.5%), medicine, equipment, and supplies (90.6%), and staff training (90.9%), but a lower score for neonatal resuscitation aids (28.8%). Disparities in readiness and availability were evident, with rural areas and the Madhesh province reporting lower scores. Variations among health facility types revealed provincial and private hospitals outperforming local-level facilities. A positive association was observed between the LDSC/SSN mentoring programme and both the readiness and availability of immediate newborn care services.

Conclusion: This study highlights the gap between healthcare facility readiness and the actual availability of immediate newborn care interventions in Nepal. Addressing disparities and barriers, particularly in rural areas and local-level facilities, is crucial for improving neonatal survival. The positive link between the LDSC/SSN programme and service availability and facility readiness emphasises the significance of targeted training and mentorship programmes in enhancing newborn care across Nepal.

Keywords: Newborn resuscitation; health facility readiness; immediate newborn care; neonatal morbidity; newborn care capacity.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Health Facilities
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Nepal
  • Quality of Health Care*
  • Resuscitation*

Grants and funding

The first and second authors contributed to this study in the course of their employment by Children’s Medical Mission, a non-profit organisation working to improve maternal and newborn health in Nepal. No grants or other sources of funding were utilized for this study.