Rural and hard-to-reach areas and specific population sub-groups still face numerous health challenges. The Nepal CRS Company, which operates in all 75 districts of the country, aims to increase access to family planning services to those areas and populations. In addition to socially marketing priority health products, CRS is supporting a network of over 3,000 Sangini providers to improve the quality of their reproductive health services.
Nepal has made considerable progress in improving the health status of its population over the past two decades. Between 1996 and 2016, under-five mortality declined from 118 deaths per 1,000 live births to 39. Nepal’s total fertility rate declined from 4.6 in 1996 to 2.3 in 2016, while the percentage of married women using contraception increased from 29 percent to 53 percent over the same time period. Despite this progress, there is still work to be done. Health outcomes are notably worse in rural and hard to reach places. In 2016, only 49 percent rural married women were using any method of contraception compared to 55 percent of urban married women. In rural areas, the under-five mortality rate is 55 deaths per 1,000 live births, compared to 39 deaths per 1,000 live births in urban areas.
In Nepal, SHOPS Plus is building the capacity and long-term sustainability of the Nepal CRS Company, a pioneer social marketing company and leading provider of priority health products, with targeted technical assistance as it implements the USAID-funded Ghar Ghar Maa Swasthya project. This project seeks to improve the health of disadvantaged populations in Nepal via improved accessibility and availability of health goods and services such as family planning, especially in hard-to-reach rural areas, through diversified social marketing techniques and subsidized health interventions. The SHOPS Plus team in Nepal aims to improve health outcomes by supporting CRS to become a technically stronger, more efficient, and sustainable provider of health products and services.