The life expectancy at birth has increased from 55 years
for males and 53.5 for females in 1995 to 58.9 years (both male and female)
in 2001/2002. The reduction in IMR has been a major contributory factor. The
main constraints have been illiteracy, difficult terrain, lack of trained
manpower, and limited resources.
The registration of vital events is grossly inadequate in Nepal.
Lack of data does not allow a realistic assessment of either mortality or
morbidity. However, based on hospital data (1998/99), five leading causes of
mortality were reported as Pneumonia, other cardio-pulmonary diseases,
encephalitis/meningitis, septicemia and diarrhoea.
Information on morbidity is unreliable and is not
classified by age or sex. The main causes of morbidity reported for 1999/2000
were skin diseases, diarrhoeal diseases, acute respiratory infections,
intestinal worms, gastritis, pyrexia of unknown
origin, ear infection, chronic bronchitis, anemia and abdominal pain.
The disabled are the most vulnerable and neglected group
in Nepal. A
survey in six districts estimates the prevalence of disability at 3%. The
main disabilities are visual impairment (cataract and vitamin A deficiency)
and hearing loss (suppurative otitis
media). Preventive programmes associated with disability include vitamin A
supplementation, iodization of salt, EPI, and prevention of accidents. The
Association for the Disabled and the Association for the Welfare of the Blind
have launched national programmes to educate the population regarding
disabilities. The main constraints are the low priority given to disability,
poverty, and inadequate health care provision.