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Improving Food Security and Access to Basic Health Services – with a focus on Maternal and Child Health

Funded by the Department for International Development

PHASE has recently finished running a three-year project (July 2014 – July 2017) funded by the Department for International Development (DFID) which reduced maternal and child mortality among the marginalised populations of 18,000 people in the Far West of Nepal.

Why was it needed?


of people living in Humla

are living in chronic poverty (UN)

Humla is one of Nepal’s highest and most inaccessible districts. In 2013, DFID identified the Karnali Zone as being the most critical to address in Nepal, due to the sheer number of people living in poverty.

The project was designed to improve access to nutritious food and basic health services, particularly for mothers and children. The project also aimed to empower the women that participated in the project. In order to achieve this, PHASE implemented outreach activities, provided additional staff to health posts, delivered nutrition workshops and hosted education sessions, offered agricultural opportunities, formed women’s groups and facilitated adult literacy classes.

What did we achieve?

In healthcare, the number of people with access to basic health care (within 2 hours of walk)  increased from 12,482 to 48,657 and the percentage of births attended by skilled health personnel increased from 45% to 85%. The percentage of new mothers practicing exclusive breastfeeding up to 6 months increased from 51% to 71%.

In education and livelihoods, 61% now have basic levels of literacy – 8% above the national average. The percentage of mothers able to correctly explain how to prepare weaning food, oral rehydration solution and to identify four important aspects of neonatal care at home increased from 60% to 81%. The number of farmers using low cost water efficient irrigation technology increased from 7% to 59%. The number of farmers using new techniques to maintain animal health increased from 0.1% to 45%.

Ultimately, through improving access to nutritious foods and basic health services, as well as furthering women’s empowerment, significant progress was made in Humla to tackle problems causing chronic poverty.

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of births

now attended by skilled health personnel

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In the Karnali Pradesh province of Nepal, Humla is the most northern district with a population of around 50, 858 people. It is an entirely rural municipality, with only one major road network.

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