Concerned over the trend to consult astrologers to set the time of birth through Caesarian-section and forcing doctors to comply with it, the Telangana government is carrying out a campaign, insisting the newborn’s health is of prime importance.
Telangana’s health minister Harish Rao expressed deep concern over superstitious parents.
“This has to stop. Telangana is among the top states with a high percentage of C-section births in the country (62%). Children born through C-sections are weaker than those born through the natural process, ”said Rao.
The government observed that there have been excessive and unnecessary C-section deliveries, which they believe are carried out by private hospitals for money.
Doctors say a C-section procedure should be encouraged in case of complications, not for the sake of an auspicious ‘muhurtham’ (time).
ASTROLOGERS, PANDITS TO THE RESCUE
According to an assessment by Niti Aayog, Telangana showed a disturbing trend of increased C-section deliveries. The state came a close second to Tamil Nadu with 53.51% C-sections in the country. Tamil Nadu topped with 55.15%.
Telangana’s average is more than twice the national average and the districts of Karimnagar and Khammam topped in C-sections in a year.
News18 spoke to RV Karnan, the collector of Karimnagar district, who has been tasked with curbing unnecessary procedures on a war footing.
The official has managed to convince several astrologers and priests in Karimnagar to refrain from fixing auspicious time for the delivery of babies.
“Many pregnant mothers approach pandits and astrologers seeking an auspicious time to have their baby. They then insist on undergoing a C-section to have the child at that very moment. The rate of such surgeries in Karimnagar is higher than the state average, ”Karnan said. “After our intervention, many astrologers and pandits have put up flexiboards stating. They will not consult or help people fix a time for delivery.”
Karnan said as a result of their awareness drive, the number of C-section deliveries has dropped from 80% to 72% in two months.
“All government and private hospitals in Karimnagar have to file an audit form as to why a C-section was done. Continuous monitoring of government and private hospitals and audit forms have helped in bringing down the number of unnecessary procedures, ”Karnan told News18.com.
One of the most successful programs of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi government has been the mother and child care kit, called KCR Kit, provided at government hospitals. This kit provides basic medicines and clothes for newborns and their mothers (maternity wear). The scheme has helped push the number of child deliveries in government hospitals from 30% to 56%.
Now, the government has decided to give incentives to ASHA workers, doctors and staff nurses who encourage normal deliveries in government hospitals.
Hospitals reporting higher number of C-sections will be taken to task and their registration will be suspended.