Factors associated with high Cesarean deliveries in China and Brazil - A Call for reducing elective surgeries in moving towards Universal Health Coverage

Xiaohui Hou, Noor Sabah Rakhshani, Roberto Iunes


Background: Annually 6.2 million unnecessary Cesarean Deliveries (CD) are performed globally. Such high unnecessary CD rate is a concern not only due to the additional financial burden it places on the health system but also because the quality of care could be compromised. There is an even more imperative need to reduce elective surgeries in moving towards the Universal Health Coverage (UHC), to ensure the ever stretched resources are effectively channeled for the best health outcomes.

Methods: The paper uses a case study method. China and Brazil were selected primarily due to their alarmingly high number and percentage of the CD rate. Systematic literature review was conducted and the analyses were structured based on the framework “Determinants of High Cesarean Delivery Rates”, developed by the authors.

Results: In China and Brazil, cultural belief, fear of labor pain and patient’s perception regarding quality of care may play a role in the patient’s preference for CD but these perceptions are shaped by their health care providers as well. The principal-agent relation comes into play as the health professionals can modify perceived needs of their patients. Availability of health insurance to mothers, physicians’ preference for convenient working hours, and payment incentives for performing higher yielding Cesarean procedures are driving the high CD rate phenomena in China and Brazil.

Understand the social determinants of CD and using various instruments to change women’s perceptions of birthing options and physicians’ behaviors are critical in managing the CD rate.

Conclusion: In the context of the rapid movement towards UHC, the evidence presented in this paper supports the call for implementing complementary policy interventions and regulation to ensure minimal efficiency loss due to resources being diverted to unnecessary procedures or hospital stays.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/jha.v3n5p67


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Journal of Hospital Administration

ISSN 1927-6990(Print)   ISSN 1927-7008(Online)

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