In a rare move, the health and family welfare ministry has acknowledged that the rate of caesarean deliveries is increasing in Bangladesh and stepped in to contain the trend.
“C-sections are rising. We acknowledge that,” Director General of Health Services Prof Abul Kalam Azad said on Thursday.
He was replying to a question at a press briefing on the upcoming World Health Day on Apr 7.
Hospitals will now have to fill out specific forms after any C-section, he said, adding that those forms would help them know the reason of caesarean deliveries.
“We’ll take measures if unnecessary C-sections are done.”
Delivery by C-section increased dramatically, from 12 percent in 2010 to 31 percent in 2016, an abnormal rise as the WHO says 10 percent to 15 percent of the total deliveries may be C-section because of complications.
In private facilities, C-sections accounted for 83 percent of deliveries, compared with 35 percent in public facilities and 39 percent in facilities run by NGOs, according to the Bangladesh Maternal Mortality and Health Care Survey or BMMS.
It is widely believed that clinic managers and some doctors motivate would-be mothers to undergo surgeries for making money, an allegation that obstetricians always deny.
C-section is a lifesaving procedure which means that a higher level of surgical deliveries will reduce delivery-related maternal deaths.
With 31 percent C-section rate, the maternal deaths were 196 per 100, 000 births in Bangladesh. But it is only four per 100,000 in Sweden where the C-section rate is 18 percent, and seven in the Netherlands where the C-section rate is 14 percent.
A new campaign to stop 'unnecessary' caesarean deliveries was also launched last year through a meeting of all stakeholders, including doctors, researchers, rights activists and representatives of donor agencies and media.
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