More women die from caesarean delivery in Africa than in high income countries, a study published in the Lancet medical journal revealed on Friday.
Cesarean section (C-section) is a surgical procedure used to deliver a baby through incisions in the abdomen and uterus.
A caesarean section is often necessary when a vaginal delivery would put the baby or mother at risk.
The study was conducted in over 180 hospitals in 22 African countries, including Congo, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe among others, and published this week.
The study found the maternal mortality rate for C-sections in Africa is substantially higher than expected at 5.43 deaths per 1,000 operations compared to just 0.1 per 1,000 operations in Britain.
“One in six women in Africa also develops complications during surgery, almost three times that of women in the U.S.
“The most common problems involved severe bleeding during and after operations, the researchers said.
The neonatal mortality rate after C-sections in Africa is also double the global average.
According to one of the study’s authors, Prof Bruce M Biccard, paradoxically, while many countries are aiming to reduce the caesarean delivery rate, increasing the rate of caesarean delivery remains a priority in Africa.
“Improving access to surgery might allow patients to present earlier and prevent complications and deaths.
“But it is vital that this improvement occurs in parallel with programmes aimed at improving patient safety during caesarean delivery,’’ Biccard added.