Caesarian surgeries on rise in China

Last Updated: May 13, 2010, 00:00 AM IST

Beijing: The rate of babies born through Caesarian surgeries in China is rising at an unhealthy rate - three times higher than that termed "alarming" by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

WHO has announced that 46 percent of the babies born in China between October 2007 and May 2008 were delivered by Caesarean section. The rate is three times higher than the alarm level of 15 percent, and it also means that the country now has the world`s highest rate of C-section deliveries.

Official statistics released by the Beijing Public Health Information Centre show that from the 1950s to the 1970s, China`s C-section rate was about five percent but in the 1990s the number surged from 40 percent to 60 percent, Global Times reported.

The report pointed fingers at doctors, who may be "motivated by financial gain".

The cost of a natural delivery is 500 yuan ($73), but the fee for a C-section is more than 1,000 yuan ($146), a doctor from Henan province said in the report.

The report further said women in China opt for Caesarean surgeries because doctors persuade them that a C-section is safer and easier. A fear of litigation may also explain the country`s C-section rate. As a natural delivery is more time-consuming and risky, the likelihood of a medical dispute is higher.

Childbirth is a complex and risky process and both hospitals and patients were unwilling to take risks, the director of a maternal and child health hospital in Shandong province, Zhao, was quoted as saying.

IANS