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Why increasing number of C-sec deliveries in private hospitals in India could be bad news

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 14 February 2017, 5:28 IST

A higher number of babies are delivered by Caesarean section in private sector hospitals as compared to the government sector.

These statistics were revealed in data gathered across 15 states and Union Territories which was released by the National Family Health Survey recently.

The number almost is double that of the government sector.

In urban Tripura, C section deliveries comprise 87.1 per cent of the total as against 36.4 per cent in the government sector. Whereas in urban Haryana, the figure is to 25.3 per cent in the private hospitals while it is 10.7 per cent in the government sector.

According to the survey, the trend of abnormally high C-sec rate in the private sector is constant which is also a concern as the WHO prescribes that these deliveries should be ideally be 10-15 per cent of the total.

Numbers across other states

In Haryana, the percentage of C-sec deliveries in the private sector is 25.3 per cent in both urban and rural areas.In urban Telengana, 74.8 per cent of the private sector deliveries is C-sec, against 75.1 per cent in rural areas.

The figures for the government sector are 42.2 per cent and 39.5 per cent, respectively. The total number of these surgeries form 58 per cent of the state.

For the state of Andhra Pradesh, C-secs make up 40.1 per cent of the total deliveries. The urban areas in the state recorded a figure of 60.9 per cent and 31 per cent for private and government sector health institutions, respectively. In rural areas of the state, they are 55.5 per cent in private and 23.7 per cent in the government sector.

For the state of Goa, the figure is 31.4 per cent and in Tamil Nadu, 34.1 per cent.Overall, the C-sec figures for urban areas (including government and private) are higher.

What does the WHO say about C-secs?

In a statement issued on C-secs in April 2015, the WHO said: "Since 1985, the international healthcare community has considered the ideal rate for Caesarean sections to be between 10-15 per cent. Since then, Caesarean sections have become increasingly common in both developed and developing countries.

"While acknowledging that "when medically necessary", a Caesarean section can prevent maternal and newborn mortality, the report notes, "Two new studies show that when C-sec rates rise towards 10 per cent across a population, the number of maternal and newborn deaths decreases. When the rate goes above 10 per cent, there is no evidence that mortality rates improve."

First published: 22 January 2016, 1:55 IST