Profile of Nepal

Amidst the two Asian giants, China and India, with their fast-growing economy, Nepal is a small landlocked country encompassing a total size of 147,181 square kilometers with a population of about 26.5 million. Despite its biodiversity, natural resources, and rich cultural heritage, Nepal still remains an underdeveloped country where nearly 24 percent of the people live under the poverty line. The impact of poverty is manifest in all sectors of the society, like health and hygiene, education, disaster and conflict preparedness, access to and distribution of resources, gender equity, as well as respect for humanitarian values. The political turmoil during the last decade was the reflection of all these problems culminating in the people’s movement in April 2006. With the successful landing of the People’s Movement, Nepal is now heading towards a new era of development. The recent changes in the legal, political, financial and diplomatic scenario indicate that the country needs more efforts in the fields of social reformation, rehabilitation and development. The infrastructure destroyed during the decade long armed conflict needs to be restored while new avenues have to be opened for development.

Key Indicators for Nepal

Total population (2011) 26,494,504
% of population under 15 years 33.22
% of population above 65 years 5.13
% of urban population 17
Population growth rate 1.35
Population density per sq. km. 180
Life expectancy at birth 68.8
Infant mortality rate per 1000 live births  40.5
Under five mortality rate per 1000 live births 51
Maternal mortality rate per 100 000 live births 190
Birth attended by skilled health personnel 36%
One year old fully immunized against tuberculosis 97%
One year old fully immunized against measles 88%
HDI rank out of 187 countries (2014) 145
% of population living below national poverty line 23.8
Literacy rate for population aged 5 years and above 57.4%
% of population using an improved sanitation facility 53.20
Number of doctors per 100,000 population 17
(Source: Central Bureau of Statistics, Nepal Government)

Disability Situation in Nepal

Disability is prevalent across the world irrespective of gender, ethnicity, race, etc. However, in the context of Nepal, disability is viewed as a penance to the sins committed in previous births. People with disability are either ignored or treated as an object of pity. The notion that disabled people also have equal rights and duties as any other individual is largely absent from the popular mindset in Nepal. There are no comprehensive data on disability in Nepal. Even the statistics on people with disabilities varies according to source. However, an estimated 7-10 percent of the people in Nepal have a disability of one form or another. The visually impaired, hearing impaired, physically disabled, and mentally challenged are recognized by the Government of Nepal. Especially, it has been found recently that Nepal has one of the highest incidences of deafness with the deaf and hard of hearing constituting 17% of Nepal’s population.