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C-sections greatest burden among childbirth expenses

An analysis by ICDDR,B says number of C-sections significantly risen across Bangladesh.

Among the different kinds of childbirth expenses in Bangladesh, families may be spending the highest amount for caesarean section deliveries out of their pockets, according to a recent analysis by the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (ICDDR,B).

C-section deliveries cost $250, roughly equivalentto Tk21,121, on average, while a normal delivery cost only $60 or roughly Tk5,069, the analysis report said.

Data on over 4,500 delivery cases was analyzed, based on Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey (BDHS), 2014, coupled with a cross-sectional survey on child delivery-related expenditure.

Cases of such out-of-pocket expenditure in C-section deliveries may be rising as nearly 31% of all childbirth across Bangladesh happened through C-section in recent years, the study said. 

This rate is well over the World Health Organization (WHO) standards of 10-15%. 

ICDDR,B researchers have urged the authorities concerned to implement effective national monitoring to curb the rising number ofC-section deliveries.

“It is of no surprise that the wealthiest people spend so much money on C-section, but even the poorest people spend no less than $200 – over Tk16,000 – which is a huge burden on their pocket,” said Dr Abdur Razzaque Sarkar, associate scientist at ICDDR,Band the principal author of the study, which was published in The International Journal of Health Planning and Management.

The increasing rates of out-of-pocket expenditure on child deliveries, especially by the less wealthy people, is a grim indication because Bangladesh aspires to achieve universal health coverage, in line with the theme of World Health Day 2019, in order to make health systems equitable and quality healthcare available for people from all economic strata.

“We have also found that mothers aged between 35 and 49 were spending significantly more on C-section in urban Bangladesh. Interestingly, mothers with higher education and who received recommended antenatal services were also among those spending more on C-section," Dr Sarkar said.

“Over 85% families heavily rely on their family fund, including income and savings, to cope with this extra burden which has a huge impacts on the livelihood of these households," he adds.

In order to minimize the cost associated with child deliveries, the study suggests introducing social health insurance – an initiative in line with the core objective of the Healthcare Financing Strategy of Bangladesh that aspires to achieve universal health coverage by 2032.


Photo Source: Dhaka Tribune

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