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Individual and institutional determinants of caesarean section in referral hospitals in Senegal and Mali: a cross-sectional epidemiological survey

Valérie Briand123*, Alexandre Dumont123, Michal Abrahamowicz4, Mamadou Traore5, Laurence Watier678 and Pierre Fournier9

Author Affiliations

1 Research Centre of CHU Sainte-Justine, Montreal, Canada

2 Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, UMR216, Faculté de Pharmacie, laboratoire de parasitologie, 4, avenue de l’Observatoire, 75005, Paris, France

3 UMR 216, Paris Descartes University, Sorbonne Paris Cité, Faculté de Pharmacie, Paris, France

4 Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McGill University, Montreal, Canada

5 Referral health center of the Commune V, Bamako, Mali

6 National Institute for Medical Research U657, Paris, 75015, France

7 Pasteur Institute, Pharmacoepidemiology and Infectious Diseases unit, Paris, France

8 Université Versailles Saint Quentin, EA4499, Garches, 92380, France

9 CRCHUM Research Centre, University of Montreal, Montreal, Canada

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BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 2012, 12:114  doi:10.1186/1471-2393-12-114

Published: 22 October 2012



Two years after implementing the free-CS policy, we assessed the non-financial factors associated with caesarean section (CS) in women managed by referral hospitals in Senegal and Mali.


We conducted a cross-sectional survey nested in a cluster trial (QUARITE trial) in 41 referral hospitals in Senegal and Mali (10/01/2007–10/01/2008). Data were collected regarding women’s characteristics and on available institutional resources. Individual and institutional factors independently associated with emergency (before labour), intrapartum and elective CS were determined using a hierarchical logistic mixed model.


Among 86 505 women, 14% delivered by intrapartum CS, 3% by emergency CS and 2% by elective CS. For intrapartum, emergency and elective CS, the main maternal risk factors were, respectively: previous CS, referral from another facility and suspected cephalopelvic-disproportion (adjusted Odds Ratios from 2.8 to 8.9); vaginal bleeding near full term, hypertensive disorders, previous CS and premature rupture of membranes (adjusted ORs from 3.9 to 10.2); previous CS (adjusted OR=19.2 [17.2-21.6]). Access to adult and neonatal intensive care, a 24-h/day anaesthetist and number of annual deliveries per hospital were independent factors that affected CS rates according to degree of urgency. The presence of obstetricians and/or medical-anaesthetists was associated with an increased risk of elective CS (adjusted ORs [95%CI] = 4.8 [2.6-8.8] to 9.4 [5.1-17.1]).


We confirm the significant effect of well-known maternal risk factors affecting the mode of delivery. Available resources at the institutional level and the degree of urgency of CS should be taken into account in analysing CS rates in this context.

Caesarean section; Africa; Epidemiology