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Seminar Explores Caesarean Section Delivery Trends in Bangladesh: Consumer Preference or Supplier-Induced Demand?
Published On: 17 Sep 2023

Seminar Explores Caesarean Section Delivery Trends in Bangladesh: Consumer Preference or Supplier-Induced Demand?

BUBT Economics Club recently hosted a thought-provoking seminar titled "Consumer Preference or Supplier-Induced Demand for Caesarean Section Delivery in Bangladesh." The event took place on September 11, 2023, at 3 pm in the International Conference Hall at BUBT. The seminar commenced with a warm welcome by Mr. Sirajul Islam, Assistant Professor, and Chairman of the Department of Economics at BUBT. The distinguished keynote speaker, Professor M. Mahmud Khan, PhD, Head of the Department of Health Policy and Management at the University of Georgia, Athens, and John A. Drew Professor of Healthcare Administration, delivered an insightful keynote address. In his keynote speech, Professor Khan discussed the trend in Caesarean section delivery in Bangladesh. In 2022, 45% of deliveries were conducted through C-sections implying that more than 14.7 lac C-sections were conducted in 2022. Since the rate of C-section deliveries is unacceptably high in Bangladesh, Dr. Khan’s analysis tried to understand the percent of C-sections that are unnecessary. In his analysis, he argued that there are three broad reasons behind the rising C-section rates and the reasons are improved access to maternity care, consumer preference (i.e., women wanting delivery by C-section), and supplier-induced demand (i.e., healthcare providers recommending C-section delivery). The information on mode of delivery for the recipients of Maternal Health Voucher Scheme also indicate that financial incentives for C-section delivery increases the C-section rates. According to a 2015 World Health Organization report, the clinically indicated C-section rate should not be more than 10% in any country. Bangladesh’s C-section rate is clearly much higher than the maximum level of 10%. Even if we allow for some pregnant women’s preference for C-section delivery, the C-section rate in Bangladesh should not be more than 17.3%. Therefore, significant proportion of C-sections in Bangladesh are due to recommendations from healthcare providers even though clinical indications for C-section may not be present. If these unnecessary C-sections can be avoided, Bangladesh can save more than 2,000 crore takas in delivery costs alone. It is critically important to identify policy options to reduce the unnecessary C-sections. The delivery cost of a C-section is significantly higher than a normal delivery, which encourages C-section delivery. Policy-makers should consider options for changing the market prices of delivery modes. It is also essential to develop Bangladesh-context specific clinical guidelines and strict adherence to the guidelines to improve the situation. Dr. Khan proposed that the Government of Bangladesh may consider implementing universal delivery and maternity care program to correct the situation, The seminar, chaired by Professor Dr. Muhammed Fayyaz Khan, Vice Chancellor of BUBT, was attended by notable guests, including Professor Md. Abu Saleh, Adviser and Member of BUBT Trust, and Lieutenant General Dr. A K M Zafrullah Siddiq (Retd.), Member of BUBT Trust, among others. Mr. Md. Mahmudul Hassan, PhD., Associate Professor of Economics and Moderator of the BUBT Economics Club, concluded the event with a vote of thanks. The seminar provided a valuable platform for discussions on C-section trends in Bangladesh, their implications, and potential solutions. It underscored the importance of aligning medical interventions with clinical necessity and ensuring the well-being of mothers and infants.


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