BEIJING — China’s maternal mortality rate contracted to 21.7 per 100,000 in 2014 from 23.2 per 100,000 the previous year, the National Health and Family Planning Commission said on March 20.
The reading is a 75.6-percent drop from that of 1990, when the maternal mortality rate was 88.8 per 100,000.
That figure allowed the nation to meet the target set in the Millennium Development Goals one year ahead of deadline. Under the goals adopted by the United Nations in 2000, nations are obligated to cut maternal mortality by three-quarters by 2015.
The commission attributed the decrease to a more equitable medical care system as well as allowances provided for rural women who give birth in hospitals.
However, it stressed that the disparity between the more developed eastern regions and its less developed west still exists, with a maternal mortality rate in western China more than doubling that of the east.
The commission said it would focus its efforts on western China and poor areas to improve medical services and management there.
The statement said the nation’s infant death rate and mortality for children ages five and under both dropped in 2014 to 8.9 per thousand and 11.7 per thousand, respectively. The figures for 2013 were 9.5 per thousand and 12 per thousand, respectively.