A Mumbai-based woman's online petition has prompted women and child development minister Maneka Gandhi to take strict measures against the abnormally high rate of C-section deliveries in India.
With an online petition, which highlights the commercialisation of Caesarean deliveries in India, going viral and gathering more than 1.3 lakh signatures, union minister for women and child development (WCD), Maneka Gandhi on Wednesday personally met the petition starter Subarna Ghosh to look into this matter in more detail.
"I have taken note of this petition on Change.org started by Subarna Ghosh. It raises some serious issues about maternal health in India.The childbirth is a natural process but unfortunately, many private hospitals are doing Caesarean deliveries for the sake of money. This is a very shameful act and incorrect. I will ask the Health Ministry to urgently look into this matter and issue a directive to hospitals to mandatorily reveal the per month data of C-section surgeries of expecting mothers," Maneka Gandhi told ANI.
Ghosh said, "I am not anti-Caesarean deliveries. Through my petition on Change.org, I wish to highlight the commercialisation of C-sec deliveries. The right of women to exercise informed consent is being overridden by this dangerous trend. I am overwhelmed to see how many people are impacted by this issue and the support I have got through this petition. Women need to be made aware of the C-section percentages of different hospitals and maternity homes so that they can choose their hospitals carefully."
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has suggested that C-section rate should be between 10 per cent and 15 per cent of the total deliveries in a country. However, a latest National Family Health Survey indicated that the overall C-section rate in some states in India was as high as 58 per cent (Telangana) and 34.1 per cent (Tamil Nadu).
Preethi Herman, head of Change.org India, said, "Since August 2016, Maneka Gandhi has become a verified Decision Maker on Change.org and has been responding to various petitions through the platform. We are heartened that she is acting on the issue raised by thousands of people through Subarna's petition with the urgency it deserves."
"Two hospitals Fernandez Hospital in Hyderabad and Sitaram Bhartia Hospital in Delhi, have already declared their C-section surgery percentages on their websites. They have also expressly supported my campaign and have urged the other hospitals to do the same," Ghosh added.