Baby with defects born every 30 seconds in China

19:14, September 13, 2010      

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Sept. 12, 2010 is China's fifth "Birth Defects Prevention Day."

As experts have said, China has a high incidence of birth defects. Every year about 800,000 to 1.2 million Chinese babies are born with defects, indicating that a baby with defects is born every 30 seconds in China.

Only between 20 and 30 percent of these infants can live a relatively good life after early diagnosis and proper treatments, while 30 to 40 percent will die shortly after birth.

In addition, around 40 percent will have to live with permanent disabilities, meaning that about 400,000 Chinese families become caught in the maelstrom of life-long suffering each year.

"Every year, China spends tens of billions of yuan treating children with birth defects, and their basic living expenses total an additional tens of billions of yuan. Furthermore, the indirect costs incurred by birth defects stand at several hundred billion yuan a year," said Jiang Fan, vice minister of the National Population and Family Planning Commission.

Zheng Xiaoying, director of the Institute of Population Research under Peking University believes that those with birth defects are mainly in the rural and impoverished areas and some effective preventative measures cannot be implemented in such areas. How to prevent and control birth defects in rural and impoverished areas is a severe challenge facing China.

China's National Population and Family Planning Commission initiated the pilot free pre-pregnancy health check project in April 2010, providing rural couples who are planning for pregnancy with free pre-pregnancy health checks.

It is known that the population and family planning departments are stepping up the training for a new profession—reproductive health consultants, which is one of the measures to prevent and control birth defects. Some certified reproductive health consultants have already started offering services in regions such as Jiangsu, Chongqing and Beijing.

By Ye Xin, People's Daily Online


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