New Delhi: In a bid to curb the rampant practice of C-section surgeries in private hospitals, the health ministry has suggested equalizing the cost of normal delivery and caesarean surgeries.
The proposal may also become a part of the National Health Assurance Plan that will provide health insurance to all the persons below poverty line (BPL).
“There has been a debate over increasing C- section deliveries in private hospitals. Recently, all the private hospitals empanelled under Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS) have been directed by the health ministry to prominently display the data of deliveries through C-section vis-à-vis normal deliveries in the hospital, at the reception area, to monitor the practice. But a more effective way to curb this is to equalize the cost," said Jagdish Prasad, director general of health services, (DGHS), ministry of health and family welfare.
“When the hospitals will realize that they will get the same amount of money in both the modes, they will prefer to do normal deliveries. However, there are costs of surgical and anesthesia involved but that also can be managed and brought to a level near normal delivery costs. This will save many women from going under the knife," he said.
The health ministry is taking several steps to curb the practice. Recently, a report titled Deciphering the Determination and Impacts of Rising Rate of C-Sections and offering Potential Solutions was disseminated to all state and union territory administrations to effectively get them to provide C-sections only to those women who actually require it.
The Federation of Obstetric and Gynecological Societies of India has also been sounded about the harmful effects of unwarranted C-sections. In addition, the states have been directed to conduct periodical prescription audit of the health facilities specifically on this issue.
In February 2017, minister of women and child development Maneka Gandhi had expressed concern to health minister J.P. Nadda about an unusual increase in recent years in C-section surgeries reported from different states.
Gandhi pointed out that while the World Health Organization (WHO) suggests that deliveries through C-section should normally be in the range of 10-15% of total deliveries but some states were reporting extremely high percentages. Tamil Nadu reported this to be 34% and Telangana 54%.