Maternity and Child Care

Since the founding of New China, the government has paid special attention to the medical and health care of women and children. Legislative and supervisory bodies to ensure women’s and children’s legal rights and interests have been established at the NPC and the CPPCC. Women and children’s work committees have also been established by the State Council and local governments. By the end of 1998, China had 2,724 maternity and child-care organizations, including 1,507 county-level ones, with a total of 73,000 medical technicians. A maternity and child-care network has been formed in both urban and rural areas.

China takes the lead in infant heart surgery in Asia. This is an operating room at the Research Center for Infant Heart Surgery of the PLA No. 106 Hospital.


To ensure the health of women, the state has formulated the Law for Protecting Women’s Rights and Interests, Law on Maternity and Child Care, Labor Protection Regulations for Female Workers and Staff, and Provisional Regulations for the Health Care of Female Workers and Staff. New measures have been adopted for the health care of pregnant women and for safe child delivery to protect the safety of mothers and babies. A health-care program for pregnant women has been promoted, i.e. setting up a file at the beginning of pregnancy, regular examinations before delivery, nursing for endangered pregnant women, hospital delivery and post-natal visit. All these measures have greatly improved the quality of maternity and child care, resulting in a remarkable drop in mortality for pregnant women from the pre-Liberation15 per thousand to the present 0.619 per thousand.

Since the reform and opening policies were introduced at the end of 1978, the Chinese government has attached special attention to children’s welfare. The Program for the Development of Children in China in the 1990s and the Law on the Protection of Minors were formulated, providing a better environment for children to grow up, be protected and develop. At the same time, the Program for the Promotion of Breast Feeding was also formulated and the baby-friendly action was launched on a large scale. China has built 5,890 baby-friendly hospitals, and child mortality has dropped to 31 per thousand, from 200 per thousand before Liberation. Since the implementation of planned immunization for children in 1978, the development level and nourishment situation of Chinese children have kept improving.

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Last updated: 2000-07-13.