The most common illnesses and health issues facing Nepal are:
- Diarrhea, dysentery, worm infestation, typhoid fever and hepatitis A and B, mainly caused by contaminated water and food, due to various reasons such as burst pipes resulting in clean water being contaminated by waste water.
- Anemia: One main reason for anemia is hook worm, mainly caused by poor hygiene and open defecation. Earlier studies by HEAR Nepal have shown that approximately 15 – 20% of school children are anemic. They can therefore not concentrate on their studies or else they stay at home.
- Malnutrition: The main reasons for malnutrition are worm infestation (roundworm, threadworm, hookworm, tapeworm) and an unbalanced diet, due to poverty and ignorance. The direct cause of worm infection are poor hygiene and bad sanitary conditions.
- There is a lack of knowledge around the topics of sexuality, contraception, abortion and gender equality. The same is true of sexually transmitted diseases and HIV/Aids, especially in rural and semi-rural areas.
- Poor menstrual hygiene, in part due to belief systems, is the reason why girls often stay at home for one week every month and therefore do not achieve school-leaving qualifications.
Fortunately, during the past two decades, Nepal has made impressive gains in the area of prenatal, natal and post-natal health bringing down the mortality of both children and mothers and increasing their health. However, for the health of the rest of the population above 5 years, especially school-age youths, the health situation has been slow in improving.
Overall, and in spite of many good health projects, quite a few financed by foreign money, the prevalence of disease has remained significantly higher in Nepal than in other South Asian countries, especially in rural areas.