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Introduction Of Free Caesarean Sections In Congo Leads To Increase In Procedure

“A health policy shift that saw the introduction in May of free caesarean section operations in 35 hospitals across the Republic of Congo — to curb the growing rate of maternal and infant mortality — seems to have prompted a proliferation of such operations, according to health officials,” IRIN reports. “‘We are virtually living in the hospital because there are so many consultations,’ said Jean-Claude Kala, head of gynecology at Makelekele Hospital, south of Brazzaville,” the news service writes.

“Between May and August, some 220 caesarean sections and 29 obstetric operations were carried out, according to Kala, even though the hospital has only 150 beds and three gynecologists,” IRIN notes, adding, “Before the new policy, the cost of a caesarean was 50,000-150,000 CFA francs (US$100-$300) in a country where it is estimated 70 percent of the population lives below the poverty line.” According to the news service, “A commission set up to evaluate the scheme estimates it will cost more than 2.8 billion CFA francs ($5.9 million) in 2011” (9/15).