China's maternal and child mortality rates have almost halved in
the past 15 years, but experts say the nation still lags behind
developed countries, and even some other developing countries.
A review of the maternal and child survival strategy, conducted
for the first time since 1949, was made public yesterday.
The Ministry of Health, the United Nations Children's Fund, the
World Health Organization and the United Nations Fund for
Population Activities jointly completed the review last November
after 18 months of research.
A total of 890 million women and children lived in China by the
end of last year, the review showed, nearly two thirds of the
nation's total population.
The health of women and children has always been a priority for
the nation and the government has made great progress in promoting
the survival and development of women and children and reducing
maternal and child mortality, the review said.
China's maternal mortality and under-five mortality rates fell
from 80 per 100,000 live births and 61 per 1,000 live births
respectively in 1991 to 48 per 100,000 live births and 26 per 1,000
live births in 2004.
But the current rates still lag far behind those of developed
countries, as well as some other developing countries. Experts said
mother and child healthcare is not adequate.
They also pointed to great disparities in mothers' and
Meanwhile, the market-oriented approach for providing mother and
child health services conflicts with the public function of the
The review called for mother and child health services to be
prioritised and guaranteed by the government. Developing rural
areas are expected to become the focus for new mother and child
Unveiling the review, Vice-Minister of Health Jiang Zuojun said
yesterday at a news conference that the government will make full
use of the conclusions it drew and advice it gave to enhance health
standards for mothers and children.
"This is an important factor in building a harmonious society,"
Henk Bekedam, World Health Organization representative in China,
said: "Maternal and child health are the foundations of economic
and social development."
(China Daily January 12, 2007)