India in recent times has witnessed massive increase in C-Section deliveries, be it for convenience, or in private sector motivated by expectations of boosting institutional earnings. The Minister of Women and Child Development, Maneka Sanjay Gandhi, had expressed concern to the Union Health Minister in February 2017 about the unusual increase in recent years in C-Section surgeries reported from different States.
According to Gandhi, while the recommendation of WHO suggests that deliveries through C-Section should normally be in the range of 10-15% of the total deliveries, some States are reporting extremely high percentages. Tamil Nadu reported this to be 34% and Telangana 54%. She had further stated that it is worrisome that the percentage was even higher for the private nursing homes across the States.
In response to the letter of WCD Minister, the Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, J.P. Nadda has stated that the concerns expressed are well founded and the Health Ministry is taking a series of measures to control this increasing trend. As a first step, all the private hospitals empanelled under CGHS have been directed by the Health Ministry to prominently display the data of deliveries through C-Section vis-à-vis normal deliveries in the hospital, at the reception area.
A report titled “Deciphering the Determination and Impacts of Rising Rate of C-Sections and offering Potential Solutions” has been disseminated to all State Governments and UT Administrations to effectively get them to provide C-Sections only to those women who actually require it. Federation of Obstetric and Gynecological Societies of India (FOGSI) has also been sounded off about the harmful effects of unwarranted C-Sections. In addition, the States have been directed to conduct periodical prescription audit of the health facilities specifically on this issue.
Hoping that these measures would help in bringing out the rate of C-Section deliveries back to the realistic levels, Maneka Sanjay Gandhi, Union Minister for Women and Child Development has thanked the Health Ministry for taking up this issue and issuing necessary directions to all concerned.