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03-04-2023 09:17

Address by the Minister of Health at a workshop on the Development of a National Strategy for the Promotion of Normal Delivery

It is an honor to stand before you today and address this important workshop organized by the Ministry of Health, aiming at the development of a Strategy for the promotion of normal delivery and the prevention of prematurity in Cyprus.

Prevention of unnecessary caesarian sections and prematurity are two important topics that affect the health and well-being of women and babies around the world.  

Based on the latest data from the Health Monitoring Unit of the Ministry of Health, in 2021, the average percentage of C-sections in Cyprus was around 59%, while in 2020 this percentage was 56%.  According to WHO C-section, rates have increased steadily worldwide over the last decades. However, this trend has not been accompanied by significant maternal or perinatal benefits.  On the contrary, there is evidence that, beyond a certain threshold, increasing C-Section rates may be associated with increased maternal and perinatal morbidity and also have substantial resource implications as they may negatively affect healthcare systems. 

International evidence suggests that many of the C-sections are unnecessary and could be prevented with better education, support, and care.  The choice of the appropriate way of delivery, for each pregnancy and for each woman, should always be done with an emphasis on normal delivery. C-section can be a life-saving intervention but should be used as a delivery method only when there is a medical indication concerning the health of the mother or the newborn.

We all know that c-sections are associated with a higher risk of complications for both mother and baby. Mothers who have c-sections are more likely to experience infection, bleeding and longer hospital stays. They are also more likely to have problems with breastfeeding and bonding with their babies. On the other hand, babies born through c-section are more likely to be born premature, to have respiratory problems with an increased possibility of admission to the neonatal intensive care unit.

As for prematurity, c-section is undoubtedly constituting an important predisposing factor.  Prematurity also represents a serious public health concern that affects millions of families worldwide on a yearly basis. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 15 million babies are born prematurely each year, and this number continues to rise. Premature babies often require lengthy hospitalizations, which can put a significant strain on families, in an emotional, social and financial level.

In conclusion, promotion of normal delivery and prevention of preterm delivery and prematurity, are important public health priorities that require a multi-faceted approach. By prioritizing education, working collectively   and holding healthcare providers accountable, we can promote normal delivery which will result in reduction of premature babies.

I would like to assure you that the Ministry of Health is committed to work in collaboration with all stakeholders, towards ensuring that all mothers and their newborns in Cyprus have the best possible care. I believe that a dedicated strategy on these issues, would be an important tool to coordinate and guide the actions of all involved .

Dear friends,

Please allow me to welcome in Cyprus our distinguished guests from WHO and FIGO. I am certain that your knowledge and experience will contribute substantially to the development of the Cyprus’ Strategy for the promotion of normal delivery and the prevention of prematurity in our country.

I thank you for the support and I wish you an enjoyable stay in our country.

I wish to all a productive workshop with tangible results.