Birth defects cost tens of billions every year

09:06, September 14, 2010      

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Tens of billions of yuan have been used to treat newborn babies with defects every year, with one defect birth happening every 30 seconds in China, experts warn.

Statistics from the Ministry of Health show that about 30 million families have children with some defects, accounting for 10 percent of the total number of families in China as of 2006.

Jiang Fan, deputy director of the National Population and Family Planning Commission, said "Every year tens of billions of yuan have been used for medical services and for the basic living requirements of these babies. All together, the annual indirect cost due to birth defects reaches hundreds of billions of yuan."

The statistics also say every year about 800,000 to 1.2 million babies are born with defects. Among them, 30 to 40 percent will die after birth, and about 40 percent will have permanent disabilities, while only 20 to 30 percent can have a better life after treatment.

But Jiang says the best way to reduce such birth defects would be to prevent their occurrence in the first place. According to the approaches released by the World Heath Organization, three levels of measures should be adopted to prevent the birth defects: medical examination and consultation before pregnancy, antenatal examination, and medical genetic screening for birth defects.

Source: China Daily(By Zheng Jinran)


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