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Allure of c-section: Urban women shy away from normal birth

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Medical experts in the country are worried as many women are reportedly lining up for cesarean delivery – also known as C-section – for child birth as opposed to the normal delivery.

The National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) has recorded more than 200% increase in surgical birth from mothers covered by the insurer in just one year. The trend is mostly experienced in developed urban areas whereby women empowered with information choose the alternative as the way of birth.

“In the financial year 2016/17, we recorded 21,490 C-section child births, in 2017/18, about 65,278 women gave birth using the surgical operation. This has seen an increase of 43,788 cases,” said the insurer.

This has resulted to NHIF paying Ksh1.5 billion in 2017/18 to cater for medical bills to health facilities that conducted the surgery. In 2016/17, NHIF paid Sh621 million for the C-section births, while Sh391 million was paid in the financial year 2015/16.

Read: 80 health facilities under probe over fraud at NHIF

Giving birth through surgery is suddenly becoming a new trend in pregnant women as it shortens the pains of labour that natural birth endure.

The trend, however, is costly to NHIF as it absorbs three shillings in every five the insurer pays for maternity. The NHIF board in 2015 increased the budget of C-section and normal delivery from Sh18,000 to Sh30,000 and Sh10,000 to Sh6,000 respectively.

As a result, the move brought in a large number of women who could not afford to foot for the huge surgical procedure costs.

See also: Insurance captain to drive NHIF overhaul

C-section is therefore becoming overused by women mothers who are medically fit and capable of vaginal delivery.

The surgical delivery is medically advised in a case of an emergency that can pose as a threat to health of the mother or the baby.

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Brenda Gamonde
Brenda Gamonde
Brenda Gamonde is reporter with Business Today. Email: [email protected]
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