Addressing maternity issues

Taking notice of high proportion of C-Section births is a step in right direction
Addressing maternity issues
The surgical procedure (C-Section) is required only when a normal delivery puts at risk the expectant mother and the baby. Hippopx [Creative Commons]

The initiative by the Health and Medical Education (H&ME) to address the issue of high proportion of Cesarean Section (C-Section) births in Jammu and Kashmir is a positive move.

It is hoped that this can help not only in putting an end to the alarming trend, but also in improving the overall health-care in the maternity hospitals.

Health-care being an important sector needs consistent improvement at every level. Navin Kumar Chaudhary, who recently joined as the new Principal Secretary to J&K Government, Health and Medical Education, has spoken in detail about the measures being taken by his Department in this direction.

The surgical procedure (C-Section) is required only when a normal delivery puts at risk the expectant mother and the baby.

But increasing trend among the young expectant mothers to unnecessarily prefer C-section deliveries over normal deliveries, coupled with the shortage of doctors in maternity hospitals, is said to be leading to high proportion of C-Section deliveries in Jammu and Kashmir.

National Family Health Survey – 5 revealed that nearly half the births take place through C-Section in J&K and it is the highest in India. Experts say such a scenario paints a grim picture of maternity health in J&K. Till now the issue seems to have been ignored.

An order of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in 2018 directing states, including J&K, to carry out prescription audit and ascertain causes for high incidence of C-Sections was never implemented.

Now, after H&ME Department beginning auditing C-Section births and taking follow up measures, it is expected to bring down such type of deliveries to the accepted percentage of 10 to 15 percent of all deliveries.

However, relying wholly on the concerned government department will not be helpful.

The government on its part can increase the strength of medical staff in hospitals and direct the doctors not to encourage, or compel, the expectant mothers to unnecessarily go for C-section deliveries.

There is also a need to create an awareness among pregnant women regarding advantages of normal delivery, which include the lesser recovery time and lesser chances of infection.

Besides focussing on the issue of C-Section deliveries , the government also needs to pay attention to overall maternity health scenario in far flung areas, where the pregnant woman do not have facilities available like those in urban areas.

Because of the non-availability of such facilities and in absence of necessary advice of doctors, the expectant mothers in rural areas ignore some serious pregnancy related problems and also fall victim to malnutrition.

These problems sometimes prove fatal in case these women reach late to maternity hospitals in urban areas at the time of delivery.

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