6 Improve maternal health

Where we are


The Chinese Government has attached great importance to the living and health condition of women. China signed a number of international conventions on the protection of women, and formulated the Programme for the Development of Chinese Women, the Law on Maternal and Infant Health Care and the Population and Family Planning Law, providing a legal basis for Maternal and Child Health (MCH) services. These initiatives and more have significantly improved maternal and reproductive health care in China.

Highlights

  • The national maternal mortality rate (MMR) fell from 88.8 per 100,000 in 1990 to 23.2 per 100,000 in 2013, down by 73.9%, and the MMR gap between urban and rural areas narrowed from 2.2 times in 1991 to 1.1 times in 2013.
  • The rate of systematic maternal management in China was 89.5% in 2013, rate of prenatal care and postnatal visit reached 95% and 92.6% respectively in 2012. By the end of 2014, China conducted free cervical cancer inspection for 38.82 million women in rural areas, and free breast cancer inspection for 5.62 million women in rural areas, and helped over 30,000 poor women troubled by poverty and diseases.

Goal 5: Improve maternal health

Target 5A: Reduce by three quarters the maternal mortality ratio

Already met

Target 5B: Achieve universal access to reproductive health

Basically met***

*** In 2013, free basic technical services of family planning covered 100% of the registered residents in China, and 96% of the migrant population; and the rate of systematic maternal management in China reached 89.5%.

 


Target 5A: Reduce by three quarters the maternal mortality ratio

 

China has achieved the goal of reducing maternal mortality rate (MMR). Significant progress has been made on the reduction of MMR in China. In 2013, the MMR nationwide was 23.2 per 100,000, which was 73.9% lower compared with the rate of 88.8 per 100,000 in 1990, meaning that China has reached its MDG target of reducing the MMR by three quarters. The urban-rural disparity in MMR has been gradually narrowed, and the MMR was 22.4 per 100,000 and 23.6 per 100,000 respectively in urban and rural areas in 2013, indicating that the gap has been narrowed from 2.2 times in 1991 to 1.1 times in 2013. The hospitalized delivery nationwide was raised from 50.6% in 1990 to 99.5% in 2013, and the rate of New Method Delivery was raised from 94% in 1990 to 99.9% in 2013.


Target 5B: Achieve universal access to reproductive health

 

Basic free family planning services achieved full coverage. China is working hard to implement the Programme of Action adopted at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), and pays more attention to people-oriented family planning services based on informed choice. By 2013, the overall contraceptive rate among married women of childbearing age reached 89%.The free basic technical service programmes of family planning cover 100% of the registered residents; and the coverage of the free basic technical service programmes of family planning reach 96% of the migrant population.

A system on maternal health care service has also been established. The rate of systematic maternal management rose from 77.2% in 2000 to 89.5% in 2013. Women’s reproductive health has been better guaranteed. In 2013, the rate of screening for gynecological diseases reached 68.7%, 7.5 percentage points higher than that in 2010. A growing number of regions are offering cervical cancer and breast cancer screening and check for gynaecological diseases for women, and the scope of screening has been extended from women in rural areas to all women at childbearing age. By the end of 2014, free cervical cancer check had been offered to 38.82 million women in rural areas, and free check of breast cancer had been offered to 5.62 million women in rural areas, and over 30,000 poor women troubled by diseases have been helped.

Challenges Ahead

The gaps in maternal mortality ratio between urban and rural areas, different regions and different population groups are still obvious. The maternal mortality ratio is higher in rural areas than in urban areas, higher in the western regions than in the eastern part, higher among the migrant population than among the permanent residents. It remains the focus and main challenge to improve the health of women in western regions, rural areas and among the migrant population. Some enterprises and employees also still lack enough awareness and measures on maternal health promotion. Measures at workplace should be taken to prevent women in pregnancy or breastfeeding period from hazardous working environment. It is necessary to provide women with access to prenatal and postnatal health check, flexible working hours and breastfeeding facilities to protect them from maternal discrimination.

 

 

Targets for MDG 5
  1. Reduce by three quarters the maternal mortality ratio
    • Most maternal deaths could be avoided
    • Giving birth is especially risky in Southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, where most women deliver without skilled care
    • The rural-urban gap in skilled care during childbirth has narrowed
  2. Achieve universal access to reproductive health & inadequate funding for family planning is a major failure in fulfilling commitments to improving women’s reproductive health
    • More women are receiving antenatal care
    • Inequalities in care during pregnancy are striking
    • Only one in three rural women in developing regions receive the recommended care during pregnancy
    • Progress has stalled in reducing the number of teenage pregnancies, putting more young mothers at risk
    • Poverty and lack of education perpetuate high adolescent birth rates
    • Progress in expanding the use of contraceptives by women has slowed & use of contraception is lowest among the poorest women and those with no education