Health Ministry plans to carry out a study on cesarean birth trendCountry’s c-section delivery rate is more than double the WHO recommendation.
The family welfare division under the Department of Health Services plans to carry out a study on cesarean section deliveries being performed at all major hospitals throughout the country.
The division’s plan comes amid a growing practice of cesarean deliveries in both private and government health facilities, which health experts say, is unnecessary most of the time.
"Cesarean section delivery is very high in our country," Dr Punya Poudel, chief of the Safe Motherhood Unit at the division, told the Post. "We will study if those surgeries were necessary or not, in this study."
Out of total deliveries in the country, 33.5 percent of women are giving birth through caesarean section, which is more than double the World Health Organization recommendation.
According to the UN health agency, a caesarean section should only be performed when there is an absolute medical necessity—no more than 10 percent to 15 percent of all births.
Data of private health facilities in Nepal shows an alarming caesarean delivery rate — more than 80 percent on average, with some hospitals having higher than 95 percent cesarean delivery rate, according to Poudel.
The division in the past used to seek clarifications from hospitals, besides warning them about high caesarean section delivery rates.
In the first phase, the division plans to conduct the study in Nobel Medical College in Biratnagar, a private medical college and BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences — government medical college of Province-1.
The division will also carry out its study in Lumbini Zonal Hospital and Siddhartha Children and Women Hospital in Butwal, run by the Association of Medical Doctors of Asia-AMDA of Province -5, in the first phase.
Dr Jagashwor Gautam, director at Paropakar Maternity and Women's Hospital in Thapathali, said it’s not only the hospitals that are responsible for the increasing c-section delivery rates in the hospital.
"Women who are planning for a normal delivery throughout their gestation period, seek surgery when their labour pain starts," said Gautam. “Caesarean-section delivery rate could reach as high as 60 percent in our hospital if we fulfil the demands of the women. But we follow the government rules and perform surgery on only those who are in need."
Gautam also warned that cesarean sections could cause significant and sometimes permanent complications, disability and death, particularly in settings that lack facilities or the capacity to conduct safe surgery and treat surgical complications properly.
The division said the Department for International Development (DFID) would provide financial assistance for the study.