Num­ber of beds, mid­wives must meet new de­mand

The uni­ver­sal sec­ond-child pol­icy has seen China’s birth rate in­crease rapidly

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By WANG XI­AODONG wangx­i­aodong@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China will in­crease the num­ber of beds in ob­stet­rics units and train more mid­wives to meet the rapidly grow­ing de­mand for ma­ter­nal ser­vices re­sult­ing from the uni­ver­sal sec­ond-child pol­icy.

China’s top health au­thor­ity said in a guide­line it re­leased on Tues­day that it will speed up train­ing of ob­ste­tri­cians and mid­wives to pro­duce 140,000 such pro­fes­sion­als be­fore 2020.

The Na­tional Health and Fam­ily Plan­ning Com­mis­sion also urged lo­cal health au­thor­i­ties na­tion­wide to add a to­tal of 89,000 beds in ob­stet­rics units in the next few years to help close the gap be­tween sup­ply and de­mand of ma­ter­nal ser­vices.

The guide­line is in­tended to im­prove ba­sic ma­ter­nal health­care ser­vices to en­sure the uni­ver­sal sec­ond-child pol­icy, im­ple­mented at the be­gin­ning of the year, is smoothly ex­e­cuted, the com­mis­sion said.

There is a se­vere short­age of ob­ste­tri­cians and mid­wives in China, with just 30 mid­wives for ev­ery 1 mil­lion preg­nant women, far be­low most other coun­tries, ac­cord­ing to the Chi­nese Ma­ter­nal and Child Health As­so­ci­a­tion.

Lo­cal au­thor­i­ties should rapidly in­crease their ca­pac­ity to treat preg­nant women and new­born ba­bies in crit­i­cal con­di­tions, and im­prove emer­gency chan­nels for such pa­tients, the guide­line said.

The com­mis­sion also called for med­i­cal in­sti­tu­tions to of­fer bet­ter pre­and post­na­tal ser­vices, such as im­proved pre-preg­nancy and pre-birth checkup ser­vices and bet­ter guid­ance dur­ing preg­nancy, it said.

Med­i­cal in­sti­tu­tions should also pro­vide ser­vices to cou­ples who want to have ba­bies, but who rely on as­sisted re­pro­duc­tive tech­nolo­gies, it said.

The birth rate has in­creased with the new sec­ond-child pol­icy, es­pe­cially in big cities, caus­ing great strains on ma­ter­nal re­sources and a short­age of med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als, ac­cord­ing to the com­mis­sion.

Ac­cord­ing to the Bei­jing Mu­nic­i­pal Com­mis­sion for Health and Fam­ily Plan­ning, oc­cu­pa­tion rates of beds in ob­stet­rics units at ma­jor hos­pi­tals in the city reached an av­er­age of 108 per­cent last year, be­fore the pol­icy was im­ple­mented, mean­ing all beds were in use and tem­po­rary so­lu­tions were re­quired to meet de­mands in such hos­pi­tals.

Mean­while, the ma­ter­nal mor­tal­ity rate in China in the first half of the year reached 183 per mil­lion, a rise of more than 30 per­cent com­pared with the same pe­riod last year, the com­mis­sion said.

Of the 90 mil­lion women el­i­gi­ble to have a sec­ond baby un­der the new­pol­icy, 60 per­cent are in the over-35 age group, who are more likely to en­counter preg­nancy com­pli­ca­tions, the com­mis­sion said.

Liu Wenx­ian, a car­di­ol­o­gist at Anzhen Hospi­tal in Bei­jing, said the num­ber of preg­nant women with com­pli­ca­tions such as car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease has risen in re­cent years.

“Older preg­nant women have a higher chance of de­vel­op­ing dis­eases,” Liu said. “They must have check­ups be­fore be­com­ing preg­nant so they are aware of their phys­i­cal con­di­tion in or­der to re­duce risks posed by preg­nancy.”

CHEN BIN / XIN­HUA

A new­born baby is taken care of at Gansu Pro­vin­cial Ma­ter­nity and Child-care Hospi­tal in Lanzhou in Fe­bru­ary.

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