What do we know about cesarean sections, also called C-sections, in India when the country still lacks any reliable hospital statistics? With still a lot of deliveries taking place at home and no national system to track them, it would seem difficult to assess the situation. However, the data derived from the latest National Family and Health Survey conducted in 2015-2016 shed a lot of light on childbirth practices across the country. A study(1) by IRD researchers has recently examined existing evidence and been able to chart some of the main trends and differentials.
"A first finding of this study relates to the rapid increase in the number of cesarean deliveries performed in India since the last survey conducted in 2005-2006, a transformation linked to the increasing proportion of women delivering in hospitals," declares Christophe Z. Guilmoto, demographer at Ceped research unit. 17,2 % of births in India were estimated to have been delivered by cesarean in 2010-16. This cesarean rate is already above the benchmark of 10-15 % proposed by WHO and above levels observed in richer countries such as the Netherlands or Finland.
Finding - Average - % - Conceals - Variations
A second finding is that this national average of 17,2 % conceals considerable variations across social categories and regions. Many regions still lack access to adequate maternal facilities and cesarean rates in states such as Bihar or Madhya Pradesh lie below the 10% level advanced by WHO. But the situation appears even more critical...
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