Growing pregnancies in Maoists camps create health problem: report

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Kathmandu, Aug 24 (UNI) The increasing number of pregnant women combatants and their newborns at the Maoist cantonments in western Nepal recently have created health and nutrition problems for both the mothers and babies, media report said.

''As the birth rate is surging of late, the Maoist combatants management secretariat alone cannot shoulder the expenses for the children,'' the Kantipur quoted Suresh Singh Pahadi, commander of the Lokesh Memorial Brigade of the Maoist Seventh Division in Kailali as saying.

''The situation requires that one look for NGOs to bring up the children inside the camps,'' he added.

The combatants demand that the party for which they have sacrificed everything should now manage the health and education of their babies.

The Rs 3,000 monthly salary and ration allowances of Rs 60 per day provided by the government are too meager to cover the expenses of the nursing mothers and infants, the combatants said.

Over 60 woman combatants in the Lokesh Memorial Brigade at Chisapani alone have given birth, while an equal number of others is now pregnant, Mr Pahadi said, adding, over 700 woman combatants are living with their spouces in the three cantonments of the Seventh Division.

A total of 300 pregnant women combatants and the same number of nursing mothers and children are staying at the Sahajpur, Badipur and Talbanda cantonments in the district.

''As we got married inside the cantonments and the children were also born here, the responsibility of bringing them up should be taken up by the party,'' said Maoist combatant Jharna, who gave birth to a baby boy a few weeks ago.

''As we are of the party, so are our children,'' she said.

According to the combatants, many nursing mothers and infants have been suffering from malnutrition.

There are nearly 20,000 Maoist combatants living in various camps across Nepal and the number of women is remarkable.

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