Home Institution

George Washington University

Publication Date

Fall 2011

Program Name

Chile: Public Health, Traditional Medicine, and Community Empowerment


The principal objective of this project was to explore the relationship between ethnicity and the causes for Caesarean section in the regional public hospital in Arica, Chile. All births recorded in the maternity register (n=907) were analyzed over a 4-month period in 2011. The regional public hospital had a 27% caesarean section rate, higher than the WHO-recommended 15%. Last names were analyzed and deemed to be either of Aymara descent (n=275) or of European descent (n=632) based on criteria used from CONADI, the National Corporation for Indigenous Development. The overall rate of Caesarean section did not differ between Aymara and non-Aymara population (27.6 vs 26.7%, respectively). However, an initial evaluation revealed apparent differences in the underlying causes between the two populations. Aymara women had higher rates of Caesarean section for fetal suffering, D.P.P.N.I., and cephalo-pelvic disproportion, whereas non-Aymara women had higher rates of Caesarean section for stationary dilatation, dystocia, or bad obstetric conditions. Some reasons for Caesarean section may be related to issues of culture, but further studies are necessary to determine the reasons for the differential risk factors for Caesarean section. The results indicate that future plans to address the high rate of Caesarean sections in Chile should be specific to each population.


Community-Based Research | Family, Life Course, and Society | Maternal and Child Health


Article Location