Monday, May 7, 2012

Cost-effectiveness of saving lives with c-sections

It's a shame that it's so very often 'money talks' above all else, but if this new research on the cost-effectiveness of MORE CESAREANS in the developing world means that fewer women and babies die or are injured, then I'll certainly accept it.
Obstructed Labor and Caesarean Delivery: The Cost and Benefit of Surgical Intervention is summarized well in this article, in which lead author Blake Alkire says, "The conclusion is straightforward: surgery, or more specifically in this case, Caesarean delivery, is not a luxury that should be reserved for the developed world."

The Partners in Health article also reads, "By performing 2.8 million additional Caesarean deliveries for obstructed labor in 49 of the worlds poorest countries, Meara projected that 16,800 mother’s lives would be saved. Many other women would be spared lives with chronic disabilities such as obstetric fistula, an abnormal communication between the vagina and the rectum following difficult labor.

According to the study, the median cost of each surgery is $141, and the median cost to avert the loss of a healthy year of life is $304. On average, for every $1 invested in providing the surgery, $6 of economic value are earned by preventing deaths and disabilities.

Dr. Murphy and I talk about the issue of more cesareans being needed in the developing world, and we hope that this research receives the attention it deserves - and that action is taken. Interestingly, Christy Turlington Burns, who reviewed our book Choosing Cesarean, is also a co-author of this analysis.

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