NPFPC to build nationwide birth defects prevention network in China

16:15, April 06, 2011      

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In order to slash the birth defect rate, China's National Population and Family Planning Commission (NPFPC) plans to establish a nationwide birth defect prevention network in 2011 in cooperation with major medical and scientific research institutions. The network will offer free pre-pregnancy health check-ups in certain areas.

With policy and financial support from the NPFPC, the Bayi Children's Hospital affiliated to the Military General Hospital of Beijing opened the national-level Birth Defects Treatment and Research Center on March 5. The center is dedicated to treating children with birth defects from across the nation, carrying out research on the causes and risk factors of birth defects and providing consulting services on birth defects prevention as well as healthy eating and living principles to couples who are prepared to have kids.

China's birth-defect rate has been on the steady rise in recent years due to changes in lifestyles, climate change, increasing social pressure and other factors. He Xiyu, director of the Birth Defects Treatment and Research Center, said that according to available statistics, four out of every 1,000 children in China are born with defects. Common birth defects include congenital heart defects, cleft lip and palate, physical disabilities and intelligence disabilities.

Pre-pregnancy health check-ups usually cost 240 yuan, but will be offered free of charge in pilot areas. The central and local governments will share the costs of the check-up fee in those areas

NPFPC will offer free pre-pregnancy health services, including health education, health check-ups, risk evaluation, health consultation and follow-up studies to rural couples, including the floating population in 220 pilot areas in 31 provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities who meet necessary conditions and are prepared to have a child.

By People's Daily Online
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