More than 82 per cent babies are born in Jammu and Kashmir’s private hospitals through Caesarean Section—a unique procedure performed the world over. Even though it has contributed more to the welfare of mankind and saved more lives than any other surgical intervention designed or devised till date, the frequency is alarming and against the WHO recommendations.
The etymology of the expression ‘Caesarean section’ is uncertain. Put otherwise, it ought to be used sparingly and resorted to only in emergencies. Nature has made elaborate arrangements for childbirth and resorting to artificial methods is not prudent. Experts say there are only two groups of indications for resorting to alternatives: Mechanical abnormalities or functional disorders of the genital organs or the passage; and an imminent danger to the foetus — when its stay any longer in the womb would be disastrous to itself, technically called foetal distress.
There are accusations that many doctor and private health institutions resort to Caesarean section to mint money. If true, there is no question that such practice is unethical or purely corrupt, something which warrants action against those resorting to artificial means which are life-saving and not routine.
WHO says that overuse of caesarean sections raises risks to the mother and her child associated with the unnecessary procedure. These risks, as per WHO, include avoidable maternal complications such as infections, haemorrhage, complications related to use of anaesthesia or blood transfusion, and infant morbidity, for example, respiratory problems, asthma and obesity in children. Caesarean sections can also lead to added complications for the mother in subsequent pregnancies, including uterine rupture, placental implantation problems and need for hysterectomy. High rates of caesarean sections are also associated with substantial health-care costs, which can pose a considerable burden on health systems.
To address the rising rates worldwide and prevent the harm to women and newborns resulting from overuse of this procedure, in 2018 the WHO published new recommendations on non-clinical interventions— those that are applied outside of the routine clinical interactions between a provider and pregnant woman— to reduce unnecessary caesarean sections.
There is need to create awareness by the government to allow the foetus to “follow the royal road.” Also, there is a need for the government, both J&K and the centre to take action against those resorting to such a procedure outside the realm of the necessary interventions.