A Mumbai activist now starts an online petition to get Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis’ attention on high number of caesarean deliveries in hospitals. Subarna Ghosh, a member of NGO Birth India, has last week filed an appeal on change.org requesting Fadnavis to make it mandatory for all hospitals to declare number of Caesarean deliveries.
“Despite its adverse effects on maternal and child health, the hospitals and doctors are indiscriminately conducting C-sections to make more money. I wanted to make sure that no other woman is misled like I was. When I looked into the issue, what I found was alarming,” said Ghosh.
The Santacruz resident had earlier started an online petition which had received around 1.6 lakh signatures and it was submitted to Union Minister Maneka Gandhi against abnormally high rate of C-section deliveries in India.
Following the petition, private hospitals that are a part of the Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS) were asked to declare their rate of C-section deliveries.
“Since health is a state subject, we decided to start this campaign from state level. The World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines say that C-section deliveries should only be 10-15% of total deliveries. I was shocked to learn that in my own state of Maharashtra, around 33.1% of all deliveries are C-section births,” added Ghosh.
Her latest petition has already gathered 164,858 supporters. “I will personally meet the chief minister by end of this week or next week with the responses. We want CM to issue an advisory to all Maharashtra Hospitals and make it mandatory for all doctors and hospitals to declare the percentage of Caesarean delivery rates to patients,” said Ghosh.
She has also demanded to conduct enquiry against those with abnormally high C-section rate.
“We need to have clear guidelines for conducting Caesarean deliveries to safeguard the health and rights of women and children,” Ghosh added. After Maharashtra, Ghosh said she would take up the issue with other states like Telangana and West Bengal.
Doctors, however, say it is unfair to see rise in C-section delivery rate in isolation as every pregnancy is different from other as it involves various factors.
“Looking at an individual parameter called C-section is wrong. We also need to consider the age of conception of a woman, pre-pregnancy health parameters like anaemia, body mass index, Vitamin-D level among others, thyroid, diabetes and hypertension status before analysing outcome of delivery option,” said Dr Sangeeta Pikale, a Gynaecologist.
She said Indian healthcare requires a registry for all diseases. “Registries will help us analyse health sector better as presently we rely lot on guidelines, studies, prevalence rates abroad and since Indian health parameters are different from those seen in countries like the USA and the UK,” said Pikale.