Chepang women have qualms over reproductive health check-up

BHARATPUR: Women from the Chepang community have qualms over undergoing check-up for reproductive health. Although the women health volunteers are raising awareness in villages on reproductive health, the Chepang women are still showing unwillingness to undergo necessary tests.

They hardly visit health posts for pregnancy tests.

ANM at Pamdanda Health Post, Richa Hitanga, said, “The Chepang women do not come to undergo health check-ups. As they do not undergo pregnancy test on time, they suffer various problems later.”

Hitanga further informed that until the Chepang women get their bellies bulged and others know about it, they do not visit the health facility. “It is mainly because they feel ashamed,” he explained.

The Chepang community is an indigenous community. Tradition of child marriage is prevalent in this indigenous group. According to ANM Hitanga, the women from this indigenous community must be made aware about reproductive health from the very school level.

Most of the women have similar problems. Maya Chepang from Jaigaira said they do not go to health post until they become five-month pregnant. “I also became a mother at an early age,” she said.

She shared that she was repeating that the daughter-in-laws must be taken to a health facility on time for a pregnancy test, otherwise they could face risk- both in mother and child.

She also recounted the plight that she lost two children. If she had tested her health on time, she could not face the tragedy.

Shila Chepang has a similar plight. She lost her child as she failed to undergo a pregnancy test on time. She divulged that she, getting ashamed, did not go to the health post despite recurring health problems during pregnancy.

She suggested that not only women but also the men must be made aware to ensure timely health checkup of Chepang women.

In the background, Ichchhakamana Rural Municipality has been conducting an awareness program. Health section coordinator at the rural municipality, Basudev Sapkota, said they were preparing to distribute calcium to the pregnant women for at least four months. Even the ultrasound service was launched in the rural areas.

He informed that the rural municipality had reached every village to raise awareness and provide health service. As per the plan of federal government, a plan was afoot to introduce ‘Nutrition for Chepang’ program at Ichchhakamana of Chitwan and Chepang settlement of Rapti.

Sapkota however admitted that complete change was still awaited. He pointed out the need for better collaboration and coordination of all sides including the local levels to bring change in the life of Chepang women in terms of reproductive health.

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