While institutional deliveries in government hospitals have increased from 61.2% in 2015–16 to 64.8% in 2019–20, Caesarean section deliveries in private hospitals have seen a huge jump from 40.3% to 52.5%, according to the latest National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5) data for Karnataka.
The overall births delivered by C-section have increased from 23.6% to 31.5%. Likewise, births in a public health facility that were delivered by C-section have also increased from 16.9% to 22.6%. “This is a substantial increase and should be seen as a red flag,” said Akhila Vasan from Karnataka Janarogya Chaluvali.
“Despite 97% of women delivering in institutions (hospitals), it is surprising that only 85.5% of children received attention from trained persons within two days of birth. This illustrates poor quality of newborn care, which, in turn, explains why neonatal mortality is still a concern,” she said.
The average out of pocket expenditure (OOP) per delivery in a public hospital has also gone up from ₹ 4,824 to ₹ 4,954. Women in urban areas continue to spend over ₹5,000 per delivery, according to the data. While institutional deliveries have increased from 94% to 97%, a point to be noted is that only 64.8% of this was reported in government hospitals.