The decline in child mortality rates in the country is slowing down, and the death rates in rural areas and among migrant workers are much higher than in cities, a UN report has found.
From 1970 to 1990, the annual mortality reduction rate among children less than five was 4.8 per thousand. But from 1990 to 2006, the figure was 3.9 per thousand.
"In remote and rural parts of the country, child mortality remains 2 to 5 times higher than in urban areas," Dr. Yin Yin Nwe, UNICEF Representative in China, said at the launch of the State of the World's Children 2008 Report in Beijing yesterday.
Dr. Hans Anders Troedsson, China Representative of the World Health Organization, said the death rates among infants are "still alarmingly and unacceptably high in rural areas and among migrant populations", and are "unnecessary".
"Like most child deaths in the world, three in four deaths in China can be easily prevented."
The report estimated that 415,000 children die each year in the country, 4.3 percent of global total.
Despite the slowdown in the reduction of child mortality, the report highlights progress on reducing child mortality.
The country's under-five mortality rate has almost halved since 1990, with the majority of deaths now occurring in the first few weeks of life.
This is largely due to the government's heavy spending on public health infrastructure and, more recently, medical insurance schemes.
(China Daily January 25, 2008)