Voices in the Field: Dr. Adriaan van Es

Dr. Adriaan van Es, founder and Secretary of GHLG partner IFHHRO, is an MD, family doctor and counselor on end-of-life decisions.  Dr van Es is also active in health related human rights advocacy.  Learn more from the video below as part of our interview series, Voices in the Field*

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Global increase in Caesarian sections

The Economist of August 15th 2015 reports that globally, Caesarian sections (delivery of a baby through an incision in the abdomen) are on the rise. The most extreme example is Brazil, where in 2013 57% of births were by Caesarian section. In Brazil’s private health-care system more specifically, nearly nine in ten babies were born by Caesarian section. While Caesarian sections are a solution in some cases, in many situations they are unnecessary. From a reproductive health rights perspective we may ask: what does it mean for women?  They may cause complications such as haemorrhage and infection. And a large Canadian study found that otherwise healthy women were three times more at risk to experience emergencies such as shock and cardiac arrest, while it may also increase the chance of problems in future pregnancies.  Research in Denmark demonstrates that there are also health risks involved for children born by Caesarian. On top of all this, a Caesarian is a costly intervention that puts a strain on the health budget. All in all, from a health rights & governance perspective Caesarians should probably remain the exception rather than become the norm.

Read more in the Economist of August 15th on pp. 53-54 at http://www.economist.com/printedition/2015-08-15