Fifteen years ago, a summit convened. All member states of the United Nations at the time gathered and agreed on eight international development goals. The Millennium Development Goals (MDG), as they are named, were adopted to better lives in the developing world.
One of the countries highlighted was China, and it has surpassed the world’s expectations, improving health for mothers and their children – ahead of the 2015 target date.
The National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC), an organization within the People’s Republic of China that works at the policy level to improve medical conditions for Chinese families, stated that, as of June 10, 2015, maternal mortality rates have dropped dramatically over the past 25 years. This exceeds the fifth Millennium Goal and has made a powerful impact on the lives of Chinese women.
The maternal death rate in China dropped significantly since 1990. In fact, it has plummeted 75.6 percent. In 1990 death rate among mothers giving birth was 88.8 per 100,000 compared to 21.7 per 100,000 in 2014.
Maternal mortality rates can be an important indication of the health of a nation and China’s success, attributed in part to its growing economy, better funded health care and allowances provided for rural women to give birth in hospitals, suggests extraordinary progress.
The gap between urban and rural pregnancies has always been vast in China with rural care significantly lower, but in past years access to medical services in less populated areas has improved as well. The hospital delivery rate in rural families was merely 36.4 percent in 1990 while in 2014, the rate had increased to 99.6 percent.
Additionally, the NHFPC said that in 2014, seven years ahead of the Millennium Development Goals deadline, infant death rates and mortality for children under 5 dropped to 8.9 per thousand and 11.7 per thousand, respectively.
In Nanning, capital of southwest China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous region, several health vehicles, with the help of two organizations, were put into operation devoted to impoverished rural women in need of maternal care.
All-China Women’s Federation (ACWF) and the China Women’s Development Foundation (CWDF) donated 30 Health Express for Mothers mobile medical units in 2009 and 10 more in August 2011. During the year before the ceremonial departure on August 4, 2011, over 4,000 maternal women and 500 more critical patients were helped by the service.
Medical units such as the ones in Nanning have helped thousands of women, given training to over 17,000 medical workers and have brought health benefits to millions of rural residents.
China has made leaps and bounds in the care for its women and children. Increased healthcare funding and better medical facilities accompanied with the grass roots efforts of tenacious citizens have demonstrated China’s ability to go above and beyond the world’s expectations, improving life for its people.
– Jason Zimmerman