In a significant move, Union Women and Child Development minister Maneka Gandhi has urged his colleague and Health Minister JP Nadda to bring in strict regulations to check the alarming trend of C-sections deliveries in India. Maneka Gandhi said gynaecologists who carry out Caesarean deliveries just to make money should be “named and shamed”.
“We would like naming and shaming of gynaecologists who do Caesarean deliveries for no reason at all except money. I would like all women in India to get together and start protesting because a Caesarean for a woman is very invasive, and it turns a natural delivery into something that is an unnecessary operation,” Gandhi told reporters.
Expressing deep concern over the increasing trend of hospitals forcing expecting mothers to undergo C-sections, she said that hospitals and nursing homes should display how many C-section and normal deliveries they have performed in a month.
“We would probably need multiple methods to attack this problem. One could be mandating the nursing homes and hospitals to publicly display the number of C-section deliveries vis-a-vis the normal deliveries during the month,” Gandhi wrote in her letter to Nadda.
The minister took up the issue after an alarming rise in caesarean section surgeries in India, mainly in private hospitals, has come under the scanner with an online petition signed by over 1.3 lakh people seeking government intervention to bring in accountability and transparency in institutional deliveries.
Subharna Ghosh, who started the petition on Change.org says if hospitals compulsorily display their rate of Caesarean operations, it will help women make an informed choice.
“Women need to be made aware of the C-section percentage of different hospitals and maternity homes, so that they can choose their hospitals carefully.”
The petition also demands “enquiry against those with abnormally high C-section rate” and “clear guidelines for conducting Caesarean surgery to safeguard the health and rights of women and children”.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) norms prescribe that C-section deliveries should ideally be 10-15 per cent of the total number of deliveries in the country.
However, according to the National Family Health Survey 2015-16, the combined Caesarean section rate in both government and private hospitals is as high as 58 per cent in Telangana and 34.1 per cent in Tamil Nadu.
The rate of Caesarean section deliveries in private hospitals alone is as high as 70.9 per cent in West Bengal and 74.9 per cent in Telangana.
(With inputs from the PTI)