Preg­nant women to re­ceive im­proved ac­cess to ser­vices

Ma­ter­nal mor­tal­ity in China slightly above US, but far lower than other de­vel­op­ing coun­tries

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

China’s top health author­ity will take steps in the next few years to im­prove ma­ter­nal health, as mor­tal­ity rates have risen fol­low­ing the adop­tion of the uni­ver­sal sec­ond-child pol­icy in Jan­uary.

The Na­tional Health and Fam­ily Plan­ning Com­mis­sion said that 89,000 ob­stet­rics beds will be added to hos­pi­tals across China, and lo­cal health au­thor­i­ties will be guided to op­ti­mize their re­sources.

The com­mis­sion will also help lo­cal au­thor­i­ties im­prove their abil­ity to save preg­nant women and new­born ba­bies in crit­i­cal con­di­tion, and bet­ter equip hos­pi­tal ob­stet­rics and pe­di­atrics de­part­ments to deal with emer­gen­cies, the com­mis­sion said.

The com­mis­sion will se­lect some na­tional train­ing bases for mid­wifery tech­niques and or­ga­nize emer­gency train­ing to help preg­nant women in crit­i­cal con­di­tion. The com­mis­sion will co­op­er­ate with other de­part­ments in the train­ing of ob­ste­tri­cians and mid­wives, aim­ing to pro­duce 140,000 more in the next few years, it said.

More than 8.3 mil­lion ba­bies were born in the first half of the year in China.

The ma­ter­nal mor­tal­ity rate in China in the first half of the year was 183 deaths per 1 mil­lion pop­u­la­tion, a rise of more than 30 per­cent over the same pe­riod last year, the com­mis­sion said.

That’s slightly higher than the rate in the United States— 140 deaths per mil­lion pop­u­la­tion last year — but far less than the av­er­age ma­ter­nal mor­tal­ity rate in de­vel­op­ing coun­tries glob­ally, which was 2,390 per mil­lion last year, ac­cord­ing to the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion.

The WHO de­fines ma­ter­nal mor­tal­ity as “the death of a woman while preg­nant or within 42 days of ter­mi­na­tion of preg­nancy”.

At the end of last year, China’s top lead­er­ship ap­proved a change in na­tional pol­icy to al­low all cou­ples to have a max­i­mum of two chil­dren.

Of the 90 mil­lion women who be­came el­i­gi­ble to have a sec­ond baby, 60 per­cent are morethan 35 years old, a group con­sid­ered to be sub­ject to greater risk, ac­cord­ing to the com­mis­sion.

The in­crease in the num­ber of preg­nant women, par­tic­u­larly of those at higher risk, such as older women, has re­sulted inan in­crease in ma­ter­nal deaths in the first half of the year, the com­mis­sion said.

In ad­di­tion, the sud­den rise in preg­nancy also put new strains on ma­ter­nal health ser­vices, and both fa­cil­i­ties and hos­pi­tal staff are un­der­equipped, the com­mis­sion said.

Gu Hong, a pe­di­a­tri­cian at Bei­jing’ sAnzhen Hos­pi­tal, said the num­ber of preg­nant women with car­dio­vas­cu­lar com­pli­ca­tions re­ceived by the hos­pi­tal has been in­creas­ing in the past few years, and seven preg­nant women died from com­pli­ca­tions in the hos­pi­tal in the past five years.

“The sit­u­a­tion is se­ri­ous,” she said. “Now more women are try­ing their best to have a sec­ond child, in­clud­ing some who face life-threat­en­ing risks, such as those with se­ri­ous car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease.”

GONG BO / FOR CHINA DAILY

A nurse checks a preg­nant woman at a hos­pi­tal in Xiangyang, Hubei prov­ince, on Satur­day.

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