Union minister of Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi has written to the Health Ministry raising concerns on the issue of increasing caesarean section (C-section) deliveries in hospitals across India.
This comes as a reaction to an online petition signed by more than 1.3 lakh people, seeking government action to cut down the number of C-sections across the country and to bring accountability and transparency in institutional deliveries.
In her letter to the health minister J P Nadda, Maneka Gandhi suggested making it mandatory for hospitals to publicly display records of C-sections and normal deliveries conducted.
“I’d like to share my concern over the alarming percentage of C-Section surgeries being conducted in hospitals these days. This issue has been deeply worrying me as it has direct linkage with the health of women per se,” she tweeted. “The situation is much worse in private hospitals, which is a matter of grave concern.” She also added that she had written to the health minister about the issue, detailing its consequences.
“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,” said Gandhi.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) norms prescribe that C-section deliveries should be 10-15% of the total number of deliveries in the country. However, data from the National Family Health Survey 2015-16 shows C-section rates as high as 87.1%, in some states.