Study: C-section dangerous in Africa - The Citizen

Study: C-section dangerous in Africa

Saturday March 16 2019

In many African nations, there is a chronically

In many African nations, there is a chronically short supply of blood for transfusions. PHOTO | FILE 

Paris/Dar. The death rate among women undergoing a caesarean section, (C-section) to deliver a baby is about 50 times higher in Africa than in most wealthy nations, researchers said Friday.
One in 200 women perished during or soon after a C-section in a sampling of nearly 3,700 births across 22 African countries, they reported in The Lancet Global Health.
By comparison, maternal mortality is approximately one woman per 10,000 operations in Britain. Death rates related to C-sections are roughly the same across most developed countries.
“The findings highlight the urgent need for improved safety for the procedure,” said researchers led by Bruce Biccard, a professor at the University of Cape Town in South Africa.
Preventable C-section deaths mostly stemmed from a ruptured uterus, in mothers who had pre-existing placental complications, bleeding before birth or during surgery, and problems related to anaesthesia.
“Improvement of C-section surgical outcomes could substantially improve both maternal and neonatal mortality,” Prof Biccard said.
He also called for a better assessment of the risk related to bleeding and less restrictive use of drugs to treat post-partum haemorrhage.
In many African nations, there is a chronically short supply of blood for transfusions.
Blood products with a greater shelf-life and better use of anaesthesia by non-doctors -- through mobile and online training, for example -- could also help boost survival rates, the researchers said.

Increasing C-sections
The findings are part of the Africa Surgical Outcomes Study, which tracks all patients who received surgery at 183 hospitals across the 22 countries for seven days.
C-sections accounted for a third of all surgeries in the period covered, the study found.
Making C-sections more easily available could also avoid potentially lethal complications, the authors noted. Of the cases examined, 75 per cent were classified as “emergency surgery”, with mothers arriving at the operating theatre with high-risk conditions.
“Paradoxically, while many countries are aiming to reduce caesarean delivery rates, increasing the rate remains a priority in Africa,” Prof Biccard said.
Worldwide, the number of C-sections has nearly doubled over the last 20 years, reaching unprecedented proportions in some countries, recent research has highlighted.

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