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March 18, 2010

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Home » Metro » Health and Science

City child mortality rate is historic best

THE city's health care for infants and young children has reached a history-high standard, as the mortality rate of children under 5 years old was 0.368 percent last year.

The rate has been declining in years thanks to better medical capability, increased government attention and growing parental awareness, said officials from Shanghai Health Bureau at a public-health conference yesterday.

The death rate for children under 5 was 0.374 percent in 2008, compared with 0.662 percent in 2001. The average level for industrialized countries is 0.6 percent.

According to World Health Organization, under-5 mortality is a leading indicator of the level of child health and a country's development. It reflects the sum of health efforts, including vaccination, health education, medical service and environmental protection.

Other major health indicators were also in line with international standards.

The mortality rate for pregnant women was 9.61 in every 100,000; mortality of infants was 0.658 percent; and incidence of infectious disease was 202.81 in every 100,000 last year, the bureau said.

Experts said the top killers of children under 5 in the city are accidents, congenital deformities, tumors, and prematurity and suffocation during and after delivery.

"Deficiencies like congenital heart disease, digestive and urological deformities are the most prevalent inborn syndromes," said Dr Wang Ying of Shanghai Children's Medical Center and vice director of the Shanghai Pediatric Association.

"Health care and screening during pregnancy are extremely important for prevention and early detection of congenital diseases. Ultrasonic examination is able to identify heart problems of 3 or 4-month fetus."

She said couples with a family history of maladies such as congenital heart disease and deafness should be ask for a doctor's professional guidance and DNA screening.

Accidental injury is the most frequent cause of death of young children, experts said at the conference.


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