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# Rates and Implications of Caesarean Sections in Latin America: Ecological Study

José M. Belizán, Fernando Althabe, Fernando C. Barros and Sophie Alexander
BMJ: British Medical Journal
Vol. 319, No. 7222 (Nov. 27, 1999), pp. 1397-1400
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25186459
Page Count: 4
Objectives To estimate the incidences of caesarean sections in Latin American countries and correlate these with socioeconomic, demographic, and healthcare variables. Design Descriptive and ecological study. Setting 19 Latin American countries. Main outcome measures National estimates of caesarean section rates in each country. Results Seven countries had caesarean section rates below 15%. The remaining 12 countries had rates above 15% (range 16.8% to 40.0%). These 12 countries account for 81% of the deliveries in the region. A positive and significant correlation was observed between the gross national product per capita and rate of caesarean section ($r_{{\rm s}}=0.746$), and higher rates were observed in private hospitals than in public ones. Taking 15% as a medically justified accepted rate, over 850 000 unnecessary caesarean sections are performed each year in the region. Conclusions The reported figures represent an unnecessary increased risk for young women and their babies. From the economic perspective, this is a burden to health systems that work with limited budgets.