Over 80% Women Undergo C-Sections In J&K Hospitals

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Srinagar- The latest round of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) has flagged another worrying trend, revealing that more than 80 percent of women in Jammu and Kashmir undergo a Caesarean section (C-section) at private health institutions.

The report has also created strong apprehensions among the natives that the process of normal delivery is no longer normal in private hospitals in J&K as 82.1% of the women in the erstwhile state have given births by undergoing C-section.

Notably, several of J&K’s nutritional indicators have worsened since the fourth round of the NFHS, which was held in 2015-16. But the erstwhile state has hit a major demographic milestone when the percentage of C-sections being carried in J&K increased at an average of 7 percent across the health facilities, according to the latest survey conducted by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare between 2019 and 2021.

The data in NFHS 2019-20, the fifth in the series, show that among private and public health facilities, the highest c-sections were being carried out at private facilities where the percentage of C-sections was recorded at 82.1 percent in NFHS-5 that is relatively high compared to 75.5 percent in NFHS-4. The worst figures for C-sections in private health facilities for NFHS-5 was recorded in urban J&K where the rate stood at 91.0 percent and for rural J&k, the percentage was recorded at 74.4 percent.

The official data further suggests that J&K has ranked third in overall C-section births in India and also accounted for the second majority of deliveries in private health facilities through C-sections succeeded by West Bengal(83 percent).

The report has also revealed that C-sections birth in public health facilities in J&K has also increased from 35.5 percent in NFHS-4 to 42.7 percent in NFHS-5. In this category, too, the rate was relatively higher in urban areas (50.9 percent) compared to rural J&K (40.2 percent). As per data,the overall rate of births delivered by caesarean section in J&K was recorded at 41.7 percent that has increased 8 percent from NFHS-4 data that suggest the rate in 2015-2016 recorded at 33.4 percent.

Lower segment Caesarean Section (LCSC) or simply C-Section is the surgical delivery of a baby through incisions in the abdomen and the uterus. In recent years, Kashmir has witnessed a hysteric rise in C-Section rates as more women are backing the wrong horse by opting for surgery to deliver the baby.

As per an RTI (Right to Information) filed by the rights activist M M Shuja recently disclosed that out of the total 20,329 deliveries carried out in five months—from April 01 to August 31, 2020—in Kashmir, at least 8,677 were conducted through C-Section.

These numbers put the overall percentage of C-Section in Kashmir at over 42.68 percent, against the WHO-recommended 10-15 percent which itself raises a serious alarm bell against the vicious state of health affairs in J&K.

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Zaid Bin Shabir

Zaid Bin Shabir is a special correspondent at Kashmir Observer. He tweets @Zaidbinshabir

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