Private hospitals perform more than thrice the number of c-section deliveries as compared to government hospitals, shows data from National Family Health Survey-4 (2015-16), released by the Union health ministry on Tuesday.
Private hospitals carried out 40.9% caesarean sections (C-sections) as compared to 11.9% performed in government hospitals. The figures in the previous survey were 27.7% and 15.2% respectively. World Health Organisation recommends the “ideal rate” for caesarean sections to be between 10% and 15%.
Studies reveal that when caesarean section rates rise towards 10% across a population, the number of maternal and newborn deaths decreases. But when the rate goes above 10%, there is no evidence that mortality rates improve. The medical fraternity may have criticised minister for women and child development Maneka Gandhi’s suggestion to make it mandatory for hospitals to publicly display the number of C-section and normal deliveries carried out, the skewed data, however, underlines the need to take measures to bring down the high c-section rate.
“We have written to states to take measures to stop private hospitals to conduct unnecessary c-sections by way of implementing clinical establishment Act etc, especially in states where the rates are abnormally high,” said CK Mishra, secretary (health).
“One reason we wanted private doctors to perform ante-natal check-up under ‘Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan’s Pledge for 9’ campaign at a public health facility only, so that poor women weren’t misled, and made to undergo c-sec.” Child birth in hospitals has also nearly doubled from 38.7% in NHFS-3 (2005-06)to 78.9% in the latest survey. More women are accessing public health care system that has reached 34.1%. Child sex ratio at birth has improved from 914 females per 1000 males to 919 at the national level, with some states doing exceedingly well.
Haryana, which is a state that has always been on the lower side as far as child sex ratio is concerned, showed significant improvement with 836 females per 1000 males as compared to 762 earlier.