Cesareans prevail in the private sector

The two largest maternity hospitals in Portugal are private. Most babies there are delivered by cesarean section.

Last year a third of all births in the Greater Lisbon area took place in 3 big private hospitals (Lusíadas, Luz, and CUF), where over half of the babies were born by cesarean section. In the 13 public health hospitals of Lisbon, the cesarean rate proved to be much lower (31%), although still higher than recommended by the World Health Organisation (10-15%).

All over the world, there is an increase in cesareans, especially in wealthier environments (highly educated women) for non-medical reasons. The fastest increase occurs in South Asia. In Europe, there are major differences in the cesarean section between member states, where rates vary from 52% in Cyprus to 25% in the UK and 17% in Sweden.

Ten years ago a commission was created in Portugal to reduce the number of cesareans in the country. Although the rate decreased initially, the country continues to rank poorly on this indicator at the international level, basically because of the dominating private sector, where cesarean rates use to be twice as high as in public hospitals.

Portuguese women who can choose to have a child in private hospitals are mainly women with health insurance, which allows them to pay only a small part of the cost of deliveries – which for private individuals can vary from 4000 euros for vaginal delivery to 7000 euros for a cesarean section.

Moreover, the lack of obstetricians in the public sector makes more and more women prefer to give birth in a calm private environment, where most cesareans are scheduled instead of urgent, as in busy public hospitals.

While structural decisions in the ailing National Health Service (SNS) are time after time postponed, the outflow of obstetricians to the private sector continues.

‘Just last week a doctor left the country’s largest public health hospital Santa Maria in Lisbon for the private sector exclusively for financial reasons’, complains Dr. Ayres de Campos, who leads a governmental commission to tackle problems in obstetric care.

‘In the SNS you get very poorly paid and work long hours. Everything that is complicated comes to public hospitals. For years and years, management has been chaotic, there is an absence of thinking in favor of the common good and lots of conflicts of interest’, he sighs.

Enjoy your week                   Aproveite a semana      (pic Público/Sapo)

In Lisbon’s metro, you can find art under your feet

The construction of the Metropolitana de Lisboa started in August 1955. The initial line consisted of 6,5 kilometers and comprised 11 stations and two-carriage trains. Nowadays there are four Lines (Blue, Green, Yellow, and Red) with a total of 56 stations. It certainly isn’t a punishment to travel in Lisbon’s underground. Some stations will surprise you with their impressive architecture.

The Olaias station was inaugurated in 1998 to serve Expo’98 visitors. Situated between Alameda and Bela Vista the station is part of the Red Line. It is considered one of the most beautiful in the world. The architect Tomás Tavira designed an imposing station with high pillars in industrial style and many colors, both on the platform and throughout the route that passengers take to enter or exit the metro.

The Jardim Zoológico station, situated between Laranjeiras and Praça de Espanha, is part of the Blue Line and one of the first metro stations in the capital. It used to be called Sete Rios after the square under which it is located.
The artistic interventions are by Júlio Resende, who decorated the station with cave paintings referring to animals present in the Lisbon Zoo.

Another pioneering station on the blue line is Parque in the Parque Eduardo VII area and situated between the stations São Sebastião and Pombal.  After its inauguration in 1959, the station was completely remodeled in 1994 by Francoise Schein and Frederica Matta, who worked on the theme of the Portuguese Discoveries, using shades of blue painted tiles.

The Campo Grande station integrates two lines, the Yellow and the Green Line. It opened in 1993 and is the first station built on a viaduct. From there one can easily reach the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon. The interventions on its walls were carried out by Eduardo Nery, who chose Portuguese tiles arranged unconventionally.

At present, the Metropolitano de Lisboa is expanding its network with an extension of the Red Line between São Sebastião and Alcântera and the construction of a new – Violet – Line between Odivelas and Loures.

The two kilometers long circle line connecting the Yellow Line to the Green Line and whose excavation was completed last month will include two new metro stations Estrela (Star) and Santos ( Saints). The names are promising. Let’s see whether these stations will be as beautifully decorated as the ones mentioned above.

Happy Easter                         Feliz Páscoa             (pic Ptnews/Público)