History & Mission
WRA Nepal, locally known as the Safe Motherhood Network Federation Nepal (SMNF), has been a leader in reproductive, maternal and newborn health and rights for decades. By providing information on safe abortion services to communities, training health providers on the importance of respectful maternity care, and building and equipping birthing centers, WRA Nepal is making sure that the right to safe motherhood is upheld for all women in Nepal.
Although abortion is legal in Nepal, unsafe abortion is one of the leading causes of maternal death. Many Nepali women continue to face barriers to obtaining safe and legal procedures, such as lack of services and trained providers, and gender norms that hinder women’s decision-making autonomy.
Expanding access to safe and legal abortion, especially in remote areas, through establishing safe abortion sites, and equipping them with a provider trained in medical abortion is key to preventing maternal deaths from unsafe abortions.
While abortion has been legal in Nepal for nearly 20 years, women still face challenges accessing abortion care, leading to preventable deaths. WRA Nepal, in partnership with Ipas Nepal, has established 15 safe abortion sites and conducted a 5-day medical abortion training for providers. WRA Nepal has trained more than 20 providers, expanding services to sites that were previously inoperative due to a lack of trained service providers. The Safe Abortion program currently has sites in Shankhuwasabha, Dadeldhura, Myagdi, Sunsari, Makwanpur, Mugu, Arghakanchi, Doti, Syangia, Rolpa, Terathum, Parbat, Ilam, Palpa, and Bjura.
In 2018, after more than a decade of dedicated advocacy from SMNF/WRA Nepal and multiple changes in governments – and just two years after the “Kathmandu Declaration” – Nepal’s House of Representatives unanimously passed the Safe Motherhood and Reproductive Health Rights Act, 2018, explicitly protecting the health and rights of women, girls, adolescents and newborns. The legislation declared that all people have the right to access sexual, reproductive, and maternal health related information, counseling, and services. It represents the first time to WRA’s knowledge that respectful maternity care has been enshrined in national law anywhere in the world.
The April 25, 2015 Gorkha earthquake killed nearly 9,000 people and injured nearly 22,000 in Nepal. SMNF/WRA Nepal activated its vast network of affiliate organizations to aid in recovery efforts and, for the next six months, ensured mothers and newborns received the care they needed while advocating for the lasting improvements needed to guarantee safe motherhood during future natural disasters.
WRA Nepal News
NUTRITIOUS FOOD FOR MOTHERS: To ensure pregnant and lactating women receive nutritious food items during pregnancy or post-partum, SMNF Nepal provided essential items such as rice, lentils, eggs, salt, and soap to 600 women during the COVID-19 pandemic.
PROTECTING HEALTH WORKERS: In response to a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) during the COVID-19 pandemic, SMNF Nepal supplied PPE like resusable PPE sets, sanitizers, gloves, masks, and other items for 115 health facilities in the country.
WHAT WOMEN WANT: When asked what her top demand for sexual and reproductive health demand, Swosti shared that Women in Nepal demand respectful care.
WHAT WOMEN WANT: Sajana, 67, shares her request of having a companion during birth as a part of White Ribbon Alliance’s What Women Want Campaign.
CANDLE LIGHTING: On the evening of April 16, 2018 a candle lighting was organized in Maitighar Mandala. During this event, WRA Nepal displayed placards with different messages and quotations around safe motherhood.
YOUTH VOICES: WRA Nepal's Youth Ambassador Jemie Shreshtha speaks out at the World Health Assembly in 2017. Photo by Oliver Hanlan.
Thank you to our partners
USAID – Health Policy Project
The Government of Nepal