Beijing's maternal mortality rate drops to historic low: official
Beijing's maternal and infant mortality rates have both dropped to a historic low. /CFP

Beijing's maternal and infant mortality rates have both dropped to a historic low. /CFP

The maternal and infant mortality rates in Beijing have both dropped to a historic low, the Beijing Municipal Health Commission said on Thursday.

In 2021, the city's maternal mortality rate dropped to 2.72 per 100,000 mothers, 75 percent lower than in 2012. Meanwhile, its infant mortality rate fell to 1.44 per 1,000, half what it was 10 years ago, according to the city's health regulator.

The World Health Organization regards a country or region's maternal and infant mortality rates as primary indicators of the general health of the society.

Song Li, head of the National Health Commission's maternal and child health department, said at a press conference in May that China recorded a maternal mortality rate of 16.1 per 100,000 in 2021, and its infant mortality rate fell to 5 per 1,000, both dropping to a record low.

Other major cities in China have also been striving to promote the safe and high-quality development of maternal and child healthcare.

According to statistics released by Shanghai Municipal Health Commission in February, its maternal mortality rate per 100,000 people in 2021 was 1.6, and the infant mortality rate was 2.3 per 1,000.

The maternal and infant mortality rates in Guangzhou City, the capital of south China's Guangdong Province, in 2021 dropped to 3.57 per 100,000 and 1.65 per 1,000, respectively – the lowest since 1991, when the statistics were first recorded, the city's health regulator said in March.

Shanghai and Guangzhou are cities with relatively strong regional economic strength in China.

Song said the country has made notable achievements in building healthcare mechanisms for women and children, improving related health services and ensuring equal access to these services.

"We also see that the proportion of high risk and elder pregnant women is increasing in recent years," Song said. "To these people, screening and assessment will be carried out throughout the whole pregnancy and perinatal period, and they will be given priority for treatment with emergency conditions."

The country has set up over 6,000 centers to treat critically ill pregnant women and newborns with serious diseases as of May.

According to the country's health regulator, people in China enjoy more equal access to maternal and child health services, and the gap between urban and rural areas in the health of women and children has been narrowed.

Over the past decade, the ratio of the maternal mortality rate in China's western and eastern regions has dropped from 2.1 to 1.5, and the mortality rate of children under five has decreased from 2.7 to 2.1.

According to the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals Report 2022, the mortality rate of children in their first 28 days of life fell by 12 percent from 2015 to 2020 – from 19 to 17 deaths per 1,000 live births.

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