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China’s Infant Mortality Rate Down

China’s infant mortality rate has fallen to about 33 per 1,000 and is expected to continue decreasing in the future, health experts at the 23rd International Congress of Pediatrics said Monday.

In some large cities, such as Beijing and Shanghai, the infant mortality rate has dropped to 5.05 per 1,000, a rate mirrored in some of the most medically advanced countries.

The infant mortality rate in Japan and Sweden is under 4 per 1,000.

The infant mortality rate, which refers to the number of babies per thousand who die before reaching 1 year old, is widely regarded as a measure of a region or country’s health care level.

Before the early 1950s, the rate reached about 300 per 1,000 thousand in China, official statistics show.

With more than 400 million children under 18, China has made massive contributions to the fields of child medical treatment and disease prevention, Jiang Zaifang, president of the congress, said at the opening ceremony.

Governments at various levels have paid great attention to child vaccinations to prevent major infectious diseases.

The vaccination rate for children has reached 80 percent in the country and in urban areas, the rate has surpassed 96 percent.

In China, the majority of infant deaths are related to difficult labor, pneumonia, and nutrition deficiency diseases.

But in Beijing and other large cities, congenital heart disease has become the top killer, killing 83 out of more than 50,000 babies born in the city last year.

Among children under the age of 14 in Beijing, the top cause of death is accidents, among which suffocation, poisoning and traffic accidents are the top three.

According to Health Minister Zhang Wenkang, China has made great progress in child health promotion, but more medical research and investment are required to advance the health care of children in rural areas.

Attention must also be focused on infectious diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, which have begun to threaten the country’s children.

Nearly 3,000 articles have been received by the five-day congress, which has attracted more than 5,000 pediatric experts from 99 countries and regions of the world.

Infant Death Rate Falls

Signaling progress in medical treatment, Beijing’s infant death rate falls to 0.65 per thousand last year and is expected to continue falling in the future. The infant death rate, which is widely regarded as a good measure of a region’s or country’s health care level, refers to the percentage of babies who die before reaching one year of age.

(peopledaily.com.cn 09/11/2001)

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