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Slow Decline in C-Section

Over 1,000 specialized delivery wards have been created in hospitals across the country.Over 1,000 specialized delivery wards have been created in hospitals across the country.

Since the launching of the Health Reform Plan in 2014, which saw the promotion of natural childbirth as one primary goal, the rate of caesarean delivery in Iran has decline by 6%.

“Since the implementation of health reforms, 1.5 million natural births, free of charge, have been delivered that is particularly beneficial for would-be mothers in the underprivileged regions,” said Mohammad Aqajani, deputy minister of health for treatment, IRNA reported.

Before the health reforms, 56% of women opted for c-section. This rate now is  49%, a figure that is still high and contentious  as many women prefer caesarean to natural delivery.

Iran needs to increase efforts to encourage natural childbirth before reaching the global standards. The World Health Organization says the rate of c-section should be 15% of all births.    

Aqajani said promoting natural childbirth, including empowering mothers and midwives and organizing training courses for pregnant women, is a priority of  the Health Ministry.

Creating specialized units in hospitals for natural deliveries where the role of the midwife is significant, and optimizing the existing ones, are among measures by the ministry aimed at safe childbirths. Natural deliveries also helped reinvigorate the profession of midwifery, he said.

“Over 1,000 specialized delivery wards have been created in hospitals across the country and the 856 existing units will be upgraded soon,” said the official.

A first step towards encouraging natural childbirth is that they are free in all government-owned hospitals. Public awareness programs to promote the natural process will be pursued more seriously this year.

Pointing to the shortage of midwives, he said 2,000 midwifes were employed in hospitals covered by the Health Ministry last year on the occasion of International Day of the Midwife (May 5). The ministry also plans to harness the capacity of private midwives by contracting and employing them in university-affiliated hospitals.

 

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