The Union Health Ministry has asked states to curb “needless” Caeserean section surgeries, after a health survey pointed a sharp rise in such operations in the private sector.
According to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4) made available by the ministry on Tuesday, the nationwide average Caesarean section surgeries rose from 8.5 per cent (NFHS-3) among all deliveries in the 2005-06 survey to 17.2 per cent in the 2015-16 survey.
In the private sector, Caesarean section surgeries made up about 40.9 per cent of deliveries in 2015-16 from 27.7 per cent in 2005-06.
Similarly according to NGHS-4, such surgeries in public health facilities declined from 15.2 per cent during NHFS-3 to 11.9 per cent during 2015-16.
“We are trying to tell the states to convince the private sector to do Caesarean only when it is required,” Union Health secretary C K Mishra told reporters here.
He said it is a very “dichotomous” situation where on one hand, the ministry is trying to create facilities to do caesarean operations in public health facilities while a lot of caesarean surgeries is happening in private sector which is elective.
Other health officials informed that the Ministry has been writing to the state governments and gynaecology associations and trying to suggest to them to use provisions of The Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act and others to nudge the private providers whose caesarean rates are “excessive”.
Recently, Union Minister Maneka Gandhi had written to Health Minister J P Nadda, saying the doctors who carry out Caesarean operations without a valid medical reason must be “named and shamed”.
Gandhi wanted Nadda to make it mandatory for hospitals to display their rate of Caesarean, also known as C-section, deliveries in response to a Change.org petition against hospitals and doctors profiteering by pushing women towards surgical deliveries instead of natural vaginal birth.