Finally, news that isn’t completely depressing (or related to a food scandal)!
Infant deaths in China have dropped dramatically due to the higher number of hospital births, according to the medical journal The Lancet.
A recent report found that newborn deaths declined by 62 percent between 1996 and 2008. The shift was credited not to China’s rising wealth, but instead to the Chinese government.
In 2000, the Ministry of Health started a nation-wide drive to promote hospital births, especially in rural areas. As a result, the government set up a fund to help pregnant rural women make the trip to a hospital. According to official numbers, almost nine million women got such help in 2010.
Despite the news, it looks like China still has a lot of catching up to do. Babies born in country hospitals are four times more likely to die than their city counterparts. Research suggests that urban Chinese have better access to specialty hospitals, university research centers, and reputable doctors.
China’s infant mortality rate in 2011 is predicted to be 16.06 deaths per 1,000 live births, making it 112th on the list of countries with the worst infant mortality rates. Compare that with the U.S. (176th) and Canada (183rd), with 6.06 and 4.92 deaths per 1,000 live births respectively.
Via WSJ’s China Real Time Report