We should be concerned at the recent revelation made by Save the Children regarding C-sections: 77 percent of C-Sections carried out across the country last year were medically unnecessary. The rate of C-section is more than 31 percent in the country which is way above the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommended range of 10-15 percent.
But the sad truth is, while C-sections are carried out unnecessarily on women hailing from affluent backgrounds, women who are poor and who are in desperate need of the procedure do not have access to it. While C-sections should be performed only when it is absolutely necessary—when severe complications arise and the life of either the mother or the newborn or both is at risk—in Bangladesh it has almost become a norm for doctors to go for C-sections without any valid reason. This is because performing surgeries means money. It is estimated that the total expenditure on C-sections last year was USD 483 million. Yet, every day 15 mothers die due to pregnancy-related complications, according to Health Directorate data. Needless to say, many of these deaths can be prevented through performing C-sections.
Since unnecessary C-sections put both mothers and babies at risk—it increases the likelihood of infection, excessive bleeding, organ damage and blood clots—such medically unnecessary practices must be brought to an end. The government needs to formulate proper regulations regarding this and have the necessary funding for ensuring better maternal healthcare services. It needs to address the need for more accredited midwives who can not only support natural childbirth but also reduce the burden faced by the doctors. Lastly, all expectant mothers, regardless of their social status, should have access to right information and maternal healthcare services so that they can make informed decisions on how they choose to give birth.