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January 17, 2014

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Maternity hospitals prepare for baby boom

A BILL on the amended one-child policy that allows families to have a second child is expected to be passed into a law during the annual session of local lawmaker this weekend.

The Party announced the new family planning policy in November and was passed by the National People’s Congress.

Each region is expected to make it a law after their regional People’s Congress amend the existing family planning law.

Local maternity hospitals said they are working to meet the new challenge amid an expected baby boom following the announcement of the new policy.

“This round of baby boom, which was expected to end in 2016 or 2017, will definitely last longer because of the new policy,” said Dr Duan Tao, president of Shanghai No. 1 Maternity and Child Health Hospital, one of the biggest in the city.

“Both the gynecology department and department treating infertility will be busy,” he said. “Many couples eligible under the new policy are in their 30s and 40s, and some of them are already receiving consultation on the guidance.”

Shanghai had a record 239,600 babies delivered in the auspicious Year of the Dragon in 2012. The numbers were down by 5 percent the next year.

There are some 400,000 eligible couples under the new policy and local authority’s survey found that 60 to 70 percent of the couples want to have a second baby.

“The couples really wanting a second child may be less than estimated because of high child-raising costs and other reasons, but our departments will be busy over the next few years,” Duan said.

“We are bettering our service area and improving quality.”

The hospital yesterday launched a WeChat account to offer health education, disease consultation and outpatient reservation.

It will soon offer online payment service and bilingual version in the following months.

All test results and medical insurance can be checked online on the WeChat account, the hospital said yesterday.



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