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Objective To investigate the association of caesarean section rates with the health system characteristics in the public hospitals of Kosovo. Design Cross-sectional survey. Setting Five largest public hospitals in Kosovo. Participants 859 women with low-risk deliveries who delivered from April to May 2015 in five public hospitals in Kosovo. Outcome measures The prespecified outcomes were the crude and adjusted OR of births delivered with caesarean section by health system characteristics such as delivery by the physician who provided antenatal care, health insurance status and other. Additional prespecified outcomes were caesarean section rates and crude ORs for delivery with caesarean in each public hospital. Results Women with personal monthly income had increased odds for caesarean (OR 1.55, 95% CI 1.06 to 2.27), as did women with private health insurance coverage (OR 3.44, 95% CI 1.20 to 9.85). Women instructed by a midwife on preparation for delivery had decreasing odds (OR 0.32, 95% CI 0.19 to 0.51) while women having preference for a caesarean had increasing odds for delivery with caesarean (OR 3.84, 95% CI 1.96 to 7.51). The odds for caesarean increased also in the case of delivery by a physician who provided antenatal care (OR 2.06, 95% CI 1.16 to 3.67) and delivery during office hours (OR 2.36, 95% CI 1.37 to 4.05), while delivery at the University Clinical Centre of Kosovo decreased the odds for caesarean (OR 0.46, 95% CI 0.24 to 0.90). Conclusions We found that several health system characteristics are associated with the increase of caesarean sections in a low-risk population of delivering women in public hospitals of Kosovo. These findings should be explored further and addressed via policy measures that would tackle provision of unnecessary caesareans. The study findings could assist Kosovo to develop corrective policies in addressing overuse of caesareans and may provide useful information for other middle-income countries.

Original publication




Journal article


BMJ Open

Publication Date