Rana Islamiah Zahroh

Thesis Title

Caesarean birth in Indonesia: understanding inequalities, inefficiencies, and intentionalities

Description of PhD project

Caesarean section (CS) rates are increasing globally with limited additional benefit for women’s or newborns’ health. Understanding factors driving high rates of CS is imperative to optimise the use of this life-saving procedure. My MPH research project explores trends and inequalities in CS rates in Indonesia and found that CS rates in Indonesia have been increasing steadily from 1.6% in 1987 to 17.6% in 2017. Further analysis into this rate reveals profound widening inequalities of CS across different groups of women. This PhD project will extend this work in Indonesia to consider how both external and woman-driven factors contribute to increasing rates and inequalities of CS by conducting a primary qualitative research study with women, families and healthcare providers, analysing portrayal of CS in the Indonesian media, and investigating factors and processes that lead to successful interventions in optimising CS use. This project will provide critical new evidence to inform policy and practice on more equitable access to maternity care services in Indonesia.


  • Associate Professor Meghan Bohren
  • Professor Caroline Homer
  • Dr Marc Cheong
  • Professor Ova Emilia


  • Human Rights Scholarship
  • Melbourne Research Scholarship
  • Gender and Women’s Health Scholarship