Govt begins auditing C-section births as survey paints grim picture of maternal health

Looking into causes to bring down the numbers: Principal Secretary Health and Medical Education
“C-Section must not be imposed on the women arriving at a healthcare facility for delivery. She must be counseled about natural birth benefits and how it is good for her own health and the health of her baby,” he said. He said the birth by surgery must not be the first choice.[Representational Image]
“C-Section must not be imposed on the women arriving at a healthcare facility for delivery. She must be counseled about natural birth benefits and how it is good for her own health and the health of her baby,” he said. He said the birth by surgery must not be the first choice.[Representational Image]File/ GK

Srinagar: The high proportion of Cesarean Section (C-Section) deliveries in J&K has been a cause of concern for over a decade, and has now become the latest issue that the UT’s Health and Medical Education Department has announced a war against.

While speaking to Greater Kashmir, Principal Secretary to J&K Government, Health and Medical Education, Navin Kumar Chaudhary said that bringing down C-Section deliveries to the accepted percentage of 10-15 percent of all deliveries was one of the priority areas of the department that he has recently joined as the head.

He said that the task was an important one given that the C-Section births were not natural and came with serious risks for mother and child both.

“C-Section must not be imposed on the women arriving at a healthcare facility for delivery. She must be counseled about natural birth benefits and how it is good for her own health and the health of her baby,” he said. He said the birth by surgery must not be the first choice.

He said that the healthcare facilities were being audited for their rate of C-Sections. “We are looking at the lopsided figures of LSCS in J&K and are in the process of understanding various factors that are pushing the rate high,” he said. He said natural births under the supervision and care of a qualified doctor would be promoted and would be a priority in the mother and child health sector.

The recently released National Family Health Survey – 5 painted a grim picture of maternal health in J&K, where nearly half of the births take place through C-Section and which was among the highest in India.

J&K’s National Health Mission has also started acting on the survey report and the findings related to C Section. Mission Director NHM, Mohammad Yasin Chaudhary recently chaired a meeting of HoDs of Obst/Gynae of Associated Hospitals of GMCs, Chief Medical Officers and Medical Superintendents of district hospitals and Programme Management units of Maternal & Child Health (NHM J&K). Directions were passed to all healthcare institutions to furnish detailed reports of C-Sections and the indications that warranted it in each case.

On the other hand, many doctors that Greater Kashmir spoke to said that natural births were less preferred by younger mothers as the birthing process could be long and uncertain. “There is also a dearth of doctors and that reduces the support that a woman could get in the natural biting process,” a gyneacologist told Greater Kashmir.

In 2018, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had directed states, including J&K, to carry out prescription audit and ascertain causes for high incidence of C-Sections. The oder was never implemented.

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