The rise in cases of Caesarean section (C-Section) surgeries among pregnant women both in public and private Hospitals across Telangana state has become a cause of concern during the past few years now. While the state health department could manage to get a grip over the Infant and Maternal Mortality Rate (IMR and MMR), however the authorities are struggling to contain the growing number of C-Section surgeries in the state. In view of this, the state government is mulling plans to encourage more natural deliveries among pregnant women and opt for C-Section only in emergency cases. As part of this, the state government has decided to introduce midwifery training courses to nurses as a step towards this end.
According to National Family Health Survey, Telangana State has dubious distinction of having highest caesarean rate in the country. “National Survey on Family Health has revealed that in Telangana nearly 58 per cent pregnant women are undergoing C-Section surgeries while giving birth to babies. This is a very dangerous phenomena as it is not only risking the lives of pregnant women but also causing financial crises among the patients due to unnecessary health expenses,” observed a healthcare expert while analysing the NFH survey.
While the scenario in Andhra Pradesh is also no different, at least 40 per cent pregnant women in AP are undergoing C-Section surgeries while giving birth. According to the NFHS survey in northern states of India such as Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarkhand and Bihar, the C-Section rate has been observed much less around 13-21 per cent when compared to the southern states of TS and AP.
Healthcare experts revealed that this is not just an Indian trend as even worldwide Caesarean sections are becoming major public health concerns due to potential risks to mothers, infants and costs. Overall, when compared to other countries, India has an average of C-Section rate at 20 per cent while Brazil has the highest rate at 50 per cent. The divide between private and public health institutions too is quite visible.
In Telangana, the C-Section rate in private hospitals is 75 for every 100 births while in public health institutions this rate is at 40 per cent. The health department in the state has recognised this menace as bad culture and categorised it as a matter of concern. “The alarming rise in cases of C-Section surgeries on pregnant women is really concerning. In fact as per the WHO guidelines this rate should be lower than 15 per cent in tertiary maternity care hospitals, but what we are observing is other way around. We need a concrete policy at the top level to avoid this menace,” observed a senior official in the health department.