According to a study completed by a leader at the Harvard Medical School, developing nations don’t have the infrastructure and training needed to perform safe C-sections. The result is a huge increase in medical expenditures because women and children are suffering at the hands of ill-trained surgeons, including injuries and death. If C-sections are going to occur in these developing nations, training can save an exponential amount of money with a relatively small investment.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that retraining medical staff on the proper means of completing a C-section could have a huge impact on a country’s economy. For instance, WHO claims that just $1 invested in training programs is enough to save an economic value of $6. Furthermore, according to the lead author of the study, John Meara of Harvard Medical School, in 94-percent of the countries where C-sections are performed to remedy obstructed labor, the cost of the procedure is less than the hospital or medical setting charges, so there is a net income to be made if the procedure is completed accurately.

There’s more to this study than just money, however. Developing nations have the upper hand on C-sections at this point, but underdeveloped nations could utilize the procedure to save an estimated 17,000 lives each year and prevent labor complications that cause a lifetime of pain and discomfort for women.

Right now the focus of the push for C-section training is strictly monetary. Researchers have noted a cost benefit to performing C-sections in developing nations over the possible health costs associated with delivering naturally during a complicated labor. However, the cost compared to the economic benefit is just a means of talking to entire countries about why they should invest money upfront in proper training and education. Behind the scenes, women are gaining the benefit.

Source: Blake Alkire, et al. Harvard Medical School. PLoS One. April 25, 2012.