Document Type



Obstetrics and Gynaecology (East Africa)


In 1985 when a group of experts convened by the World Health Organization in Fortaleza, Brazil, met to discuss the appropriate technology for birth, they echoed what at that moment was considered an unjustified and remarkable increase of caesarean section (CS) rates worldwide.1 Based on the evidence available at that time, the experts in Fortaleza concluded: ‘there is no justification for any region to have a caesarean section rate higher than 10–15%’.1 Over the years, this quote has become ubiquitous in scientific literature, being interpreted as the ideal CS rate. Although this reference range was intended for ‘populations’, which are defined by geopolitical boundaries, in many instances it has been mistakenly used as the measurement for healthcare facilities regardless of their complexity or other characteristics. In addition to the case mix of the obstetric population served, the use of CS at healthcare facilities is also affected by factors such as their capacity to handle cases, availability of resource and the clinical management protocols used locally.


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.

Publication (Name of Journal)

BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology