The Office of the Healthy China Initiative Promotion Committee held a press conference to review the Maternal and Child Health Promotion Action of the Healthy China Initiative in Beijing on July 25.
Reducing Birth Defects — The Three-Level Prevention System
Qin Geng, Director of the Maternal and Child Health Department of the National Health Commission (NHC), said China has been monitoring 23 diseases that cause birth defects. The tendency for new-born infants to suffer from 22 of them has dropped substantially, except in cases of congenital heart defect.
Qin said China has long been sticking to the principle of prevention and treatment, forming a three-level prevention system for reducing birth defects, and the next step to further strengthen the program was to help infants with fetal malformation and genetic metabolic diseases.
Qiao Jie, academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE) and doctor of Peking University Third Hospital (PUTH), said promoting age-appropriate marriage and childbearing was of great significance in reducing birth defects.
According to Qiao, premarital and pregnancy checkups, the first two levels in the three-level prevention system, should be standardized, and consanguineous marriage should be prohibited and unhealthy lifestyles should be abandoned. She believes that the first and the second level in the prevention system should be more emphasized.
Promoting the Equalization of Children's Early Development Services Between Urban, Rural Areas
The early stage of childhood is the golden period for the physical, psychological, cognitive, affective and social adoptive development of a child. However, in China, early development services are polarized between urban and rural areas, curbing individuals' potential development as well as the country's competitiveness in respect of human resources.
Qin said the NHC has been working on the project of nutrition improvement for impoverished children in China. The project has achieved remarkable effects: by the end of 2018, 7.22 million children nationwide have benefited from it and it is believed that the project will cover 832 state-level poverty-stricken counties by the end of 2019.
Medical Reform — Effectively Enhance the Service's Quality and Coverage
A new round of deepening medical reform started in China in 2009, with massive public-service programs being established to assist the nation's women and children. One program is to help rural women do regular checkups to protect against cervical and breast cancer.
So far, the cervical cancer checkups have covered 2,118 counties in China and the breast cancer checkups have covered 1,651 counties around the nation, with a tendency to larger coverage in the future.
Qin concluded that the Healthy China Initiative had clear objectives, strict criteria and strategic measures, as well as the faith to set up a well-established welfare network to further safeguard women and children's health.
(Source: China Women's News/ Translated and edited by Women of China)
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