18 jan : Nearly one in five deliveries in India is by Caesarean section, a procedure followed ‘unnecessarily’ in most of the cases despite it increasing the risk of maternal mortality and morbidity, says a WHO report.
A global survey on maternal and perinatal health by WHO witnessed 27 per cent rise in Caesarean deliveries in nine Asian countries, including India, China, Japan, Nepal and Sri Lanka, in 2007-08.
Though in India only 18 per cent births are Caesarean as compared to China’s 46 per cent which topped the list, what is worrying is that such cases have risen from five per cent to almost 65 per cent in many private hospitals in cities like Delhi and Mumbai, the report said.
After analysing 107,950 births of which 24,000 were from Indian states of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi, the WHO found that C-section births have increased beyond the recommended level of 15 per cent in these countries, not “because of an immediate medical need for it but due to financial gains”.
The WHO health experts insisted that “mothers should only get a C-section when there is a need for it as it increases risk of maternal death, infant death, admission into an intensive care unit, blood transfusion and hysterectomy as compared to spontaneous vaginal delivery.
“But these risks have not necessarily been absorbed into medical culture because in two thirds of the hospitals which took part in the survey, the institution had carried out Caesarean to earn more money as it costs more that the normal delivery, for example in India it is nearly Rs 20,000 costlier.”