Inequalities in prevalence of birth by caesarean section in Ghana from 1998-2014

Caesarean section (CS) is an intervention to reduce maternal and perinatal mortality, for complicated pregnancy and labour. We analysed trends in the prevalence of birth by CS in Ghana from 1998 to 2014.

Using the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Health Equity Assessment Toolkit (HEAT) software, data from the 1998-2014 Ghana Demographic and Health Surveys (GDHS) were analysed with respect of inequality in birth by CS. First, we disaggregated birth by CS by four equity stratifiers: wealth index, education, residence, and region. Second, we measured inequality through simple unweighted measures (Difference (D) and Ratio (R)) and complex weighted measures (Population Attributable Risk (PAR) and Population Attributable Fraction (PAF)). A 95% confidence interval was constructed for point estimates to measure statistical significance.

The proportion of women who underwent CS increased significantly between 1998 (4.0%) and 2014 (12.8%). Throughout the 16-year period, the proportion of women who gave birth by CS was positively skewed towards women in the highest wealth quintile (i.e poorest vs richest: 1.5% vs 13.0% in 1998 and 4.0% vs 27.9% in 2014), those with secondary education (no education vs secondary education: 1.8% vs 6.5% in 1998 and 5.7% vs 17.2% in 2014) and women in urban areas (rural vs urban 2.5% vs 8.5% in 1998 and 7.9% vs 18.8% in 2014). These disparities were evident in both complex weighted measures of inequality (PAF, PAR) and simple unweighted measures (D and R), although some uneven trends were observed. There were also regional disparities in birth by CS to the advantage of women in the Greater Accra Region over the years (PAR 7.72; 95% CI 5.86 to 9.58 in 1998 and PAR 10.07; 95% CI 8.87 to 11.27 in 2014).

Ghana experienced disparities in the prevalence of births by CS, which increased over time between 1998 and 2014. Our findings indicate that more work needs to be done to ensure that all subpopulations that need medically necessary CS are given access to maternity care to reduce maternal and perinatal deaths. Nevertheless, given the potential complications with CS, we advocate that the intervention is only undertaken when medically indicated.

Economic Consequences of Caesarean Section Delivery: Evidence From a Household Survey in Tanzania

Background: Caesarean section (C-section) delivery is an important indicator of access to life-saving essential obstetric care. Yet, there is limited understanding of the costs of utilising C-section delivery care in sub-Saharan Africa. Thus, we estimated the direct and indirect patient cost of accessing C-section in Tanzania

Methods: Cross-sectional survey data of 2012 was used, which covered 3000 households from 11 districts in three regions. We interviewed women who had given births in the last 12 months before the survey to capture their experience of care. We used a regression model to estimate the effect of C-section on costs, while inequality on C-section coverage and delivery costs were assessed with a concentration index.

Results: C-section increased the likelihood of paying for health care by 16% compared to normal delivery. The additional cost of C-section compared to normal delivery was 20 USD, but reduced to about 11 USD when restricted to public facilities. Women with C-section delivery spent an extra 2 days at the health facility compared to normal delivery, but this was reduced slightly to 1.9 days in public facilities. The distribution of C-section coverage was significantly in favour of wealthier than poorest women (CI=0.2052, p<0.01), and this pro-rich pattern was consistent in rural districts but with unclear pattern in urban districts.

Conclusions: C-section is a life-saving intervention but is associated with significant economic burden especially among the poor families. More health resources are needed for provision of free maternal care, reduce inequality in access and improve birth outcomes in Tanzania.

Management of prolonged first stage of labour in a low-resource setting: lessons learnt from rural Malawi

Caesarean sections without medical indication cause substantial maternal and perinatal ill-health, particularly in low-income countries where surgery is often less safe. In presence of adequate labour monitoring and by appropriate use of evidence-based interventions for prolonged first stage of labour, unnecessary caesarean sections can be avoided. We aim to describe the incidence of prolonged first stage of labour and the use of amniotomy and augmentation with oxytocin in a low-resource setting in Malawi.

Retrospective analysis of medical records and partographs of all women who gave birth in 2015 and 2016 in a rural mission hospital in Malawi. Primary outcomes were incidence of prolonged first stage of labour based on partograph tracings, caesarean section indications and utilization of amniotomy and oxytocin augmentation.

Out of 3246 women who gave birth in the study period, 178 (5.2%) crossed the action line in the first stage of labour, of whom 21 (11.8%) received oxytocin to augment labour. In total, 645 women gave birth by caesarean section, of whom 241 (37.4%) with an indication ‘prolonged first stage of labour’. Only 113 (46.9%) of them crossed the action line and in 71/241 (29.5%) membranes were still intact at the start of caesarean section. Excluding the 60 women with prior caesarean sections, 14/181 (7.7%) received oxytocin prior to caesarean section for augmentation of labour.

The diagnosis prolonged first stage of labour was often made without being evident from labour tracings and two basic obstetric interventions to prevent caesarean section, amniotomy and labour augmentation with oxytocin, were underused.

Efficacy of Trans-abdominis Plane Block for Post Cesarean Delivery Analgesia in Low-income Countries: a Phase Three Feasibility Study.

Background: Optimal pain control in a parturient woman undergoing caesarean section is essential for preventing complications such as venous thrombo-embolism and improving maternal satisfaction, early
functional recovery, mother-baby bond and breastfeeding. Intentional pain assessment and adequate management to acceptable pain severity using multimodal methods can be achieved in low-middle
income countries (LMICs).

Aim: Is to assess the efficacy of transversus abdominis plane (TAP) block and satisfaction post-cesarean delivery analgesia at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre in Low-Income countries.
Methods: The study population consisted of 72 participants who met criteria posted for elective and emergency caesarean section. They were blindly assigned into two groups: group A was the interventional group which received TAP block and standard pain management according to local protocols and consisted of 41 participants and group B was the control group which received standard pain management without TAP block and consisted of 31 participants. In Group A 30ml of 0.25% bupivacaine single shot was deposited in the TAP plane bilaterally for postoperative analgesia. Participants were randomized using a parallel method. Their demographics were recorded before surgery and visual analogue scale was used to assess postoperative pain at rest and on movement, and maternal satisfaction at 0hrs, 6hrs, 12hrs and 24hrs.
Results: Total of 72 patients were analyzed using NRS with pain score at 0hr, 6hr and 12hr was significantly low by about 50% in Intervened group as compared to control group with (p-value (2 tail) of <0.001 however at 24 hrs. was 0.272. Participant in group A had extra movements at 0hr, 6hrs and 12hrs with p-value <0.001 as compare to control cut had no significant difference when coughing. Maternal
satisfaction with pain management was 95.1% with no reported adverse event.

Conclusions: Trans Abdominis Plane block when used as part of multimodal pain management is more effective in managing post-cesarean pain resulting in less physical limitation and high maternal satisfaction.

Inequalities in caesarean section in Burundi: evidence from the Burundi Demographic and Health Surveys (2010–2016)

Despite caesarean section (CS) being a lifesaving intervention, there is a noticeable gap in providing this service, when necessary, between different population groups within a country. In Burundi, there is little information about CS coverage inequality and the change in provision of this service over time. Using a high-quality equity analysis approach, we aimed to document both magnitude and change of inequality in CS coverage in Burundi over 7 years to investigate disparities.

For this study, data were extracted from the 2010 and 2016 Burundi Demographic and Health Surveys (BDHS) and analyzed through the recently updated Health Equity Assessment Toolkit (HEAT) of the World Health Organization. CS delivery was disaggregated by four equity stratifiers, namely education, wealth, residence and sub-national region. For each equity stratifier, relative and absolute summary measures were calculated. We built a 95% uncertainty interval around the point estimate to determine statistical significance.

Main findings
Disparity in CS was present in both survey years and increased over time. The disparity systematically favored wealthy women (SII = 10.53, 95% UI; 8.97, 12.10), women who were more educated (PAR = 8.89, 95% UI; 8.51, 9.26), women living in urban areas (D = 12.32, 95% UI; 9.00, 15.63) and some regions such as Bujumbura (PAR = 11.27, 95% UI; 10.52, 12.02).

Burundi had not recorded any progress in ensuring equity regarding CS coverage between 2010 and 2016. It is important to launch interventions that promote justified use of CS among all subpopulations and discourage overuse among high income, more educated women and urban dwellers.

Outcomes Associated With Anaesthetic Techniques for Caesarean Section in Low- And Middle-Income Countries: A Secondary Analysis of WHO Surveys

Associations between anaesthetic techniques and pregnancy outcomes were assessed among 129,742 pregnancies delivered by caesarean section (CS) in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) using two WHO databases. Anaesthesia was categorized as general anaesthesia (GA) and neuraxial anaesthesia (NA). Outcomes included maternal death (MD), maternal near miss (MNM), severe maternal outcome (SMO), intensive care unit (ICU) admission, early neonatal death (END), neonatal near miss (NNM), severe neonatal outcome (SNO), Apgar score <7 at 5 minutes, and neonatal ICU (NICU) admission. A two-stage approach of individual participant data meta-analysis was used to combine the results. Adjusted odds ratio (OR) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were presented. Compared to GA, NA were associated with decreased odds of MD (pooled OR 0.28; 95% CI 0.10, 0.78), MNM (pooled OR 0.25; 95% CI 0.21, 0.31), SMO (pooled OR 0.24; 95% CI 0.20,0.28), ICU admission (pooled OR 0.17; 95% CI 0.13, 0.22), NNM (pooled OR 0.63; 95% CI 0.55, 0.73), SNO (pooled OR 0.55; 95% CI 0.48, 0.63), Apgar score <7 at 5 minutes (pooled OR 0.35; 95% CI 0.29, 0.43), and NICU admission (pooled OR 0.53; 95% CI 0.45, 0.62). NA therefore was associated with decreased odds of adverse pregnancy outcomes in LMICs.

Prevalence and Factors Associated With Caesarean Section in Four Hard-to-Reach Areas of Bangladesh: Findings From a Cross-Sectional Survey

Background: Caesarean section (C-section) is a major obstetric life-saving intervention for the prevention of pregnancy and childbirth related complications. Globally C-section is increasing, as well as in Bangladesh. This study identifies the prevalence of C-section and socio-economic and health care seeking related determinants of C-section among women living in hard-to-reach (HtR) areas in Bangladesh.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted using a structured questionnaire between August and December 2017 at four distinct types of HtR areas of Bangladesh, namely coastal, hilly, haor (wetland), and char areas (shallow land-mass rising out of a river). Total 2,768 women of 15-49 years of age and who had delivery within one year prior to data collection were interviewed. For the analysis of determinants of C- section, the explanatory variables were maternal age, educational status of women and their husbands, women’s religion, employment status and access to mobile phone, wealth index of the household, distance to the nearest health facility from the household, the number of ANC visits and presence of complications during pregnancy and the last childbirth. Logistic regression model was run among 850 women, who had facility delivery. Variables found significantly associated with the outcome (C-section) in bivariate analysis were included in the multivariable logistic model. A p-value <0.05 was considered as statistically significant in the analyses.

Results: Of the 2,768 women included in the study, 13% had C-sections. The mean (±SD) age of respondents was 25.4 (± 0.1) years. The adjusted prevalence of C-section was 13.1 times higher among women who had their delivery in private facilities than women who delivered in public facilities (Adjusted Odds Ratio, AOR: 13.1; 95% CI 8.6-19.9; p-value: <0.001). Women from haor area and coastal area had 4.7 times (AOR: 4.7; 95% CI 2.4-9.4; p value: <0.001) and 6.8 times (AOR: 6.8; 95% CI 3.6-12.8; p value: <0.001) more chance of having C-section, respectively, than women living in char area. Among women who reported complications during the last childbirth, the AOR of C-section was 3.6 times higher than those who did not report any complication (AOR: 3.6; 95% CI 2.4-5.4; p value: <0.001).

Conclusions: The study identifies that the prevalence of C-sections in four HtR areas of Bangladesh in substantially below the national average, although, the prevalence was higher in coastal areas than three other HtR regions. Both public and private health services for C-section should be made available and accessible in remote HtR areas for women with pregnancy complications. Establishment of an accreditation system for regulating private hospitals are needed to ensure rational use of the procedure.

Caesarean Section in Low-, Middle- and High-Income Countries

Caesarean section (CS) refers to delivery of a foetus through surgical incisions made through abdominal and uterine walls. It’s a life-saving procedure when complications arise during pregnancy. It may be an emergency or a planned procedure. Although desirable, CS may be medically unnecessary. CS is a major procedure associated with immediate and long-term maternal and perinatal risks and may have implications for future pregnancies. Since 1985, international healthcare community considers ideal rate for CS to be 10–15%. However, in the last decade, there has been concern about the rising rates of CS from as low as 2% in Africa to as high as 50–60% in Dominican Republic and Latin America. To this effect, there have been attempts to regulate the rates, and the Ten Group Classification System under the Robson criteria is such an attempt. CS rates are on the increase due to varying reasons ranging from patient, institutional, care provider and societal factors. There have been modifications in the CS technique and the drugs used postoperatively from Pitocin to addition of Misoprostol. Need has developed from Reproductive Health Specialists to review indications, rates and terminologies used and evaluate practices in low-, middle- and high-income countries regarding CS.

Major obstetric haemorrhage in Metro East, Cape Town, South Africa: a population-based cohort study using the maternal near-miss approach

Major obstetric haemorrhage is a leading cause of maternal mortality and accounts for one-third of maternal deaths in of Africa. This study aimed to assess the population-based incidence, causes, management and outcomes of major obstetric haemorrhage and risk factors associated with poor maternal outcome.

Women with major obstetric haemorrhage who met the WHO maternal near-miss criteria or died in the Metro East region, Cape Town, South Africa, were evaluated from November 2014–November 2015. Major obstetric haemorrhage was defined as haemorrhage in pregnancies of at least 20 weeks’ gestation or occurring up to 42 days after birth, and leading to hysterectomy, hypovolaemic shock or blood transfusion of ≥5 units of Packed Red Blood Cells. A logistic regression model was used to analyse associations with poor outcome, defined as major obstetric haemorrhage leading to massive transfusion of ≥8 units of packed red blood cells, hysterectomy or death.

The incidence of major obstetric haemorrhage was 3/1000 births, and the incidence of massive transfusion was 4/10.000 births in the Metro East region (32.862 births occurred during the studied time period). Leading causes of haemorrhage were placental abruption 45/119 (37.8%), complications of caesarean section 29/119 (24.4%) and uterine atony 13/119 (10.9%). Therapeutic oxytocin was administered in 98/119 (82.4%) women and hysterectomy performed in 33/119 (27.7%). The median numbers of packed red blood cells and units of Fresh Frozen Plasma transfused were 6 (interquartile range 4–7) and 3 (interquartile range 2–4), ratio 1.7:1. Caesarean section was independently associated with poor maternal outcome: adjusted OR 4.01 [95% CI 1.58, 10.14].

Assessment of major obstetric haemorrhage using the Maternal Near Miss approach revealed that placental abruption and complications of caesarean section were the major causes of major obstetric haemorrhage. Caesarean section was associated with poor outcome.