China’s maternal mortality rate declined to 199 per 1 million population last year, despite a rising number of births brought by the universal second-child policy, the country’s top health authority said on Jan 20.
The figure for 2015 was 201 per 1 million, according to the National Health and Family Planning Commission.
Meanwhile, mortality rates for children under 5 decreased to 10.2 per thousand last year, Ma Xiaowei, deputy minister in charge of the commission, told a news conference.
He said various measures taken by health authorities to cope with the universal second-child policy, which was adopted at the beginning of last year, had helped bring down the maternal mortality rate.
These measures, which included establishing extra emergency response centers and providing more training to staff at the grassroots level, will be intensified over the next two years, when births are expected to peak, Ma said.
In the first half of last year China’s maternity mortality rate reached 183 per 1 million population, a rise of more than 30 percent compared with the same period in 2015.
The number of babies born in the first half of last year was 8.31 million, a rise of 6.9 percent over the same period in 2015, the commission said.
It estimates that more than 3 million women at higher risk will become pregnant in China every year for the next few years, a rise of 30 percent from the period before the adoption of the second-child policy. This will pose sustained pressure to hospital facilities and staff, and may result in more higher risk births, the commission said.