Despite having one of the country’s worst maternal mortality rates, Jharkhand has failed to increase caesarean deliveries at government-run healthcare facilities, missing annual targets for the past three years, an official report shows.
A Jharkhand health department report released on Thursday revealed that there were 3,740 deliveries in 2014-15, 4,403 in 2013-14 and 1,942 in 2012-13 against an annual target of 5,000 deliveries set for the state by the Union health ministry.
Annual caesarean target is a parameter to gauge if there are enough labour rooms and gynaecologists to conduct caesarean in emergency.
Health department officials said that until August this year, just 2,166 deliveries have been performed in the state due to lack of adequate numbers of health centres with labour rooms.
Jharkhand has only 70 healthcare facilities where the surgery is conducted, they said.
A senior official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity as he was not permitted to speak to the media, said currently about 240 caesarean deliveries are conducted in the state every month.
“To meet the annual target there should be at least 415 deliveries every month and for that we need more health centres to be equipped with labour rooms,” he said.
Earlier this month, the National Health Mission had directed the state health department to map areas and accordingly provide labour rooms at the health centres to increase caesarean and institutional delivery to check the state’s high maternal mortality rate.
According to the Annual Health Survey 2012-13, more than 65% mothers still deliver at home and 219 mothers die per lakh live births in Jharkhand and in tribal dominated districts the maternal mortality ranges from 230 to 245 per lakh live births.
State director-in-chief of health services Dr Sumant Mishra said, “We are still in the process of expanding of labour room services. New first referral units have been started.”
“The department had started mapping under-perfor
ming health centres and has recruited more than 116 gynaecologists to facilitate caesarean deliveries.”
While caesarean deliveries, including surgery, medicine and treatment were free at state-run hospitals, private healthcare facilities charge between `20,000 and `25,000, health department officials said.