Nepal is a country in South-East Asia, bordered by India to the south, east and west, and by China and the Himalayan mountains to the North.
Population estimate (2019): 29,804,957
Capital City: Kathmandu
Currency used: Nepal Rupee
Gross National Income per capita (2013) (PPP international $): 2
Time zone: GMT + 5.45
Population growth rate (2019): 1.07%
Total fertility rate per woman: 2.12
Languages: The official language is Nepali, but several other languages and dialects are also spoken such as Maithali 11.7%, Bhojpuri 6%, Tharu 5.8%, Tamang 5.1%.
Key ethnic groups: Some of the largest ethnic groups in Nepal are Chhetri (16.6%), Bahun (12.2), Magar (7.1%) and Tharu (6.5%).
Religion: 81.3% Hindu, 9% Buddhist, 4.4% Muslim, 3.1% Kirant, Christian 1.4%, other and unspecified 0.7%.
Climate: Nepal has four distinct seasons influenced by continental and maritime factors. Spring (March to May) is hot with showers and temperatures around 22ºc. Summer (June to August) is also the monsoon season where temperatures can reach 30ºc. Autumn (September to November) is dry and a bit cooler with a maximum temperature of 25ºc and cold nights. Winter (December to February) is the coldest period and the mountains are covered in snow. Temperatures can still reach 20ºc during the day but often falls below 0 at night.
Life expectancy at birth (2016): 69/72 (male/female)
Probability of dying between 15 and 60 years: 171/131 (per 1000 population, 2016)
Total expenditure on health per capita (2014): $137
Number of doctors per 1000 population (2015): 0.52
Nursing and midwifery personnel density (per 1000 population, 2015): 2.25
Neonatal mortality rate (per 1000 live births, 2016): 21
Maternal mortality ratio (per 100.000 live births, 2016): 239
Births attended by skilled health personnel (2016): 58%
Top 10 causes of death:
Coronary heart disease: 30,559 people / 18.72% of total
Lung disease: 19,274 / 11.81%
Stroke: 15,450 / 9.46%
Influenza & pneumonia: 10,535 / 6.45%
Diarrhoeal diseases: 7,882 / 4.83%
Diabetes mellitus: 6,482 / 3.97%
Tuberculosis: 5,252 / 3.22%
Road traffic accidents: 4,921 / 3.01%
Liver disease: 4,848 / 2.97%
Kidney disease: 4,337 / 2.66%
Nepal faces significant challenges to healthcare and its provision; due to its location and topographical diversity, Nepal experiences natural hazards such as floods, landslides, earthquakes, forest fires as well as periodic epidemics of infectious diseases. With a large proportion of the population living in poverty in rural (and difficult to reach) areas, the risk of infection and mortality by communicable diseases and malnutrition is particularly high. Improvements have been made in recent years, especially in maternal and child health and access/proximity to healthcare facilities.
The healthcare system in Nepal comprises public and private sectors. Government expenditure on healthcare has increased in the past 20 years, and in 2012 a pilot program for universal health insurance was introduced in 5 districts, aiming to address large equity gaps in access. Public primary health care is delivered at the district level through sub health posts, health posts, primary health care centres and district hospitals. There are 202 primary health care centres, 3803 health posts and 129 urban health clinics. Secondary and tertiary care is delivered at regional hospitals and specialised tertiary facilities. There are 83 secondary level district hospitals, 15 tertiary level hospitals, and 8 specialised hospitals, which are all located in the Kathmandu Valley.
The private sector consists of private hospitals and facilities. These can be very expensive and are mostly used by foreigners and wealthier Nepalese citizens. There are over 400 private hospitals in the country, the majority located in the capital and urban areas. In addition there are several governmental and non-governmental organisation- (NGOs) led initiatives encouraging various health-promoting behaviours in communities.