Turkish Doctors Face Fines For Elective Cesarean Sections

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On Friday, the Guardian reported that Turkey recently became first country to make elective cesarean sections punishable by law. While Turkey has one of the world’s highest cesarean section rates, members of the medical community in Turkey are concerned that this new law is not an appropriate solution to the problem.

From the story:

Turkey has one of the world’s highest caesarean rates, with the procedure accounting for about 48% of births. According to the health ministry, up to 70% of all births in some private hospitals involve caesareans. The ministry accuses doctors of pushing women towards the operations out of greed – they cost 1,000 lira more than natural births in some private hospitals.

However, the medical community is concerned that the law does not get to the core of the problem. Ismail Mete Itil, president of the Turkish Gynaecologist and Obstetrics Association, said: “Two years ago, our association presented a comprehensive programme, aimed at the improvement [of obstetrics] to the health ministry. But nothing has been done to put our suggestions into practice.”

The report recommended an increase in births supported by midwives, educational campaigns in the media, the increased availability of pain relief and legal efforts to reduce doctors’ fear of malpractice cases in order to lower the caesarean rate to 35% by 2013. Itil added: “How can the government pass a law before even trying to implement any of these suggestions?”

Read the full story here.

Learn about the MHTF’s work to better understand under and over-use of cesarean sections here.