With a population of just over 28.5 million in 2015, Nepal ranks 47th in the world by population and 95th by total area. The official language of Nepal is Nepali. The currency is the Nepalese rupee. Nepal ranks 150th in world health ranking per WHO. In 2014, the total expenditure on health per person was $137, which is 5.8% of the GDP. Nepalese males have a life expectancy at birth of 68 years, and females can expect to live 71 years. There are .21 physicians per 1,000 people in Nepal as compared with 2.56 physicians per 1,000 people in the United States.
Nepal’s national health care system, headed by the Ministry of Health, has five levels:
National – central hospitals (8), national health training, and research institute
Regional – regional (3) and zonal (10) hospitals, health team and training, research institutes
District – district hospitals (65), primary health care centers (214) health teams, boards, committees for council and development
Village – health posts (3,805), run by the Health Facility Operational Management Committee
Village/ward – health assistant, staff nurse, auxiliary health workers, auxiliary nurses and midwives, female community health volunteers. Run by the Village Development Committees.
Earthquakes in April 2015 damaged or destroyed over 1,100 facilities. Non-governmental care facilities have been provided by missionaries, the Red Cross, and local organizations. These groups also encourage communication programs that stress health topics like family planning, contraceptive use, spousal communication, safe motherhood practices, the use of skilled birth attendants, and immediate breastfeeding.
Private practices are available in urban areas, on a fee-for-service basis.
In 2014, Nepal adopted a national health policy, to be managed by the Ministry of Health, that included free basic health services (including outpatient, inpatient, and emergency services, plus medicines). The Department of Health Services is responsible for delivering preventive, promotive, and curative health services.
Nepal is piloting a plan to implement a National Health Insurance Scheme.
Travel, or international, health insurance provides comprehensive medical coverage when traveling outside of one’s home country. Travel health insurance is different from travel insurance, as the latter may provide only emergency coverage but not full medical coverage.
Travelers should check with their health insurance provider, as they may already have an option of international health coverage. If they do not, they can purchase travel health insurance from their home country or the destination country.