Infant Mortality Rate in China

Infant mortality rate is the number of deaths of children under one year of age every one thousand live births. Of the 224 countries evaluated by the World Factbook, China is ranked 110th when it comes to infant mortality rate. As this number lies just about in the middle of the World Factbook’s data, I am shocked to see that their rate was so high. As of 2013, China has 15.20 deaths per 1,000 births. According to the article provided by Catholic Online found in the British medical journal, The Lancet, China’s infant mortality rate has dropped by 62% between 1996 and 2008. It is said that this huge drop has been due to the fact that the number of births in hospitals and clinics have dramatically increased. It also said that as of 1988, less than have of the births in China were occurring in hospitals. The article reveals that the Chinese government are taking part in trying to improve this issue by improving their health facilities, providing better training, and making them more available by providing things such as insurance. Socio-economic status and location still plays a factor in this rate, as those who live in more rural areas may not be financially able to give birth in the more urbanized facilities. China is also known for having midwives, those who enter the homes of those who are pregnant and assist in the birth. I see this as a somewhat outdated practice but China seems to still use this practice. It seems to me that if the government continues to play a role in the healthcare system and continues to push for better facilities and better care for the patients, they will indeed see a larger decrease in their infant mortality rate. By my readings, much of their practices just seem to be outdated for their culture and the government’s intervention will indeed get them on the right track.

Catholic Online, “Chinese Infant Mortality Rate Drops by 62 Percent,” accessed August 9, 2013.

The World Factbook, “Country Comparison:: Infant Mortality Rate,” accessed August 9,2013.

This Post Has 1 Comment

  1. Amy Sweetapple says:

    After reading this post I would say that China is using an applied medical approach as well as an ethnomedical anthropologic approach in order to battle their infant mortality rate. I believe that applying these anthropologic approaches to this health problem benefited this crisis by first understanding that because of the low percentage of people birthing their children in hospitals, there was a higher mortality rate. Also, the cultural aspect which goes hand in hand with this small percentage of birthing in hospitals indeed was analyzed: the common use of midwives in Chinese homes. Through the applied and ethnomedical anthropology approaches, the government took part in improving their health facilities, hospitals, as well as providing staff with better training and accessibility to the public. This should naturally induce a decrease in mortality rates. This also goes for midwives at home. When proper and more progressive training is given to the midwives in more rural, less financially stable areas, this too shall lower the mortality rate in China. Applying anthropology to global health issues seems like the most obvious way to understand, change, and improve these health discrepancies across the world. Being able to recognize and accept other’s cultures and norms is a great step in the right direction to improving healthcare.

Leave a Reply