[Cesarean sections in Senegal: coverage of needs and quality of services]

C T Cisse, E O Faye, L de Bernis, B Dujardin, F Diadhiou
Santé: Cahiers D'étude et de Recherches Francophones 1998, 8 (5): 369-77
A prospective longitudinal study was carried out of all women undergoing Cesarean section in the surgical maternity hospitals of Senegal between January 1 and December 31 1996. The epidemiology and quality of Cesarean sections were investigated. For each case, the following data were recorded: marital status, prenatal monitoring, conditions of hospitalization, indications for and outcome of surgery, maternal and neonatal follow-up one month after the operation. 2,436 Cesarean sections were performed. Of these, 2,269 cases were indexed and filed and 1,612 received a postnatal checkup one month after the operation. The mean age of the women involved was 26 years. The referral system is not effective, with 58% of patients being rushed to a surgical maternity unit in medically unsuitable forms of transport. Cesarean section is not widely available either geographically or economically. The mean national rate of Cesarean section was 0.6% of expected births but there were differences between regions. The main indications for Cesarean section were the fetus being too large to pass through the pelvic girdle (30%) and fetal suffering (18%). The maternal mortality rate was 3% and one third of the women who died did so immediately after the operation. Maternal morbidity occurred in 10% of cases, mainly due to postoperative infection. The rate of perinatal stress was 25%, most deaths being caused by neonatal distress (33%) or infection (18%). Thus, overall, both the availability and quality of Cesarean section in Senegal are poor.

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