China’s Infant Mortality Rate

In 2011 China had approximately thirty-three infant deaths per every one thousand live births. Although this may seem extremely high compared to other highly developed countries this number has been declining which holds great promise for the future. The infant mortality rate statistic is the number of thousands of children that will die within the first year. China’s President of Congress has taken massive strides in tackling this problem which can be contributed to the decline statistics in China’s favor. The Chinese governments in various branches have prioritized childhood vaccines against major diseases. Around eighty percent of children have been vaccinated in rural communities and up to ninety six percent of all children in urban communities (1). However the most concerning causes of death at this time that they are trying to tackle is pneumonia, nutritional deficiencies, congenital heart defects and accidental deaths such as suffocation, poisoning and vehicular. Health Minister Zhang Wenkang although proud of the steps being made is actively looking to new forms of research for advancement in more rural parts of the nation.

A retrospective cohort study was performed by Elina Hemminki, Zhuochun Wu, Kirsi Viisainen, Ying Wang in 1999 to 2000 in the rural Chinese communities. They followed pregnancies of women from the confirmation to seven days post birth. The number of pregnancies in this community was three thousand six hundred and ninety seven and of that only three cases were lost. The researchers measured the outcomes as abortions, stillbirths, early neonatal mortality and perinatal mortality. Factors that influence these outcomes are first and for most the one child policy and the financial stability of the individual provinces. The medical care of these rural provinces was county hospitals and decentralized services in the villages. Here family planning stations provide pregnancy testing, abortions, and insertion of contraceptive devices. Women who were married from the ages of 20 to 49 were mandated to a pregnancy test every two months and if a women was unmarried and became pregnant or it was an unauthorized pregnancy the couple were be advised to have an abortion and if they refused they would be fined or lose their employment. All of this background knowledge made it possible for this study to serve as a baseline for other rural communities in China. It was found that of the total amount of pregnancies three hundred and twelve resulted in abortion, two hundred and forty were miscarriages, sixty per one thousand were perinatal deaths and twenty four per one thousand were stillborn and forty six per one thousand were early neonatal deaths. It was noted that towns with a higher income had less overall death than those who had less (2).

 

(1) China. Org Society. “China’s Infant Mortality Rate Down.” Accessed August 8, 2013. http://www.china.org.cn/english/19012.htm

(2) Hemminki, Elina. “Perinatal mortality in rural China: retrospective cohort study.” Accessed August 8, 2013. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC286318/

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