An IRIN news article last week asked the question, 'Can subsidised caesareans cut maternal deaths?'
It explains that some doctors in Benin have begun performing near-free caesareans, and the government is in its first week of helping women pay for caesarean operations in an effort to reduce the number of women dying during childbirth every year (estimated at 2,000).
"The government has linked the country’s high level of maternal and infant deaths in childbirth to long hospital waits for caesarean operations as underfunded hospitals scrambled to assemble the necessary equipment."
Will this be enough?
"A government health inspector who works with midwives in Cotonou, Adékambi Adjovi, told IRIN that even a steeply-subsidised caesarean operation may not be enough for some women. “The circuit [of health care costs] for women who have caesarean operations should be covered entirely because now they pay post-operative costs themselves.”
...The Ministry of Health reported 14,000 women giving birth through caesarean in 2008 and has estimated an additional 3,000 mothers will need the operation in 2009, based on population estimates."