CMF’s first program was to help establish the Shanghai Children’s Medical Centre - the first state-of-the-art children’s hospital in China. Since then, CMF has continued to develop and implement programs in China to improve healthcare available to children. Our current focus is on improving healthcare for newborn babies in rural China.
Why focus on improving healthcare for newborn babies in rural China?
A disproportionately high percentage of newborn babies are dying in China and around the world.
The UN’s Sustainable Development Goal #3 is Healthy Lives and Promote Well-being for all at all Ages– over 40% of deaths of children under 5 years old occur within the first 28 days of life. Around the world, this amounts to 2.5 million newborn babies dying every year before they reach the first month of their life, mainly from preventable causes. In China, in 2017, a staggering 78,000 newborn babies died within the first 28 days of their lives.1
Many of these deaths in China can be prevented through improving training and infrastructure of newborn healthcare in rural, underserved areas.
The main causes of neonatal mortality (death in the first four weeks of life) are asphyxia (due to lack of oxygen before delivery), low birth weight and infection. Many of these deaths can easily be prevented.1
In China, 80% of under-5 deaths occur in rural China... the disparity between child health in the booming cities compared with the poor countryside remain stark.3
Despite the enormous need, the ease of access of health facilities and healthcare services are also lacking in the rural areas. The total expenditure on healthcare has grown almost 4 times from 2000 to 2009 to 1.7 trillion yuan (US$250 million). However, the ratio of the health expenditure per capita between urban and rural is 4:1 (2,200 to 560 yuan). 4
Poor families are also faced with sometimes insurmountable costs to access healthcare, sometimes having to choose the death of their child simply because they cannot afford the hospital care.
In 2017, rural residents had an annual average per capita disposable income of 13,400 yuan (US$1,950). That's less than a third of the average per capita disposable income of urban residents, which stood at 36,400 yuan ($5,300).4
For every newborn who dies from asphyxia, which occurs when the newborn receives an inadequate supply of oxygen immediately before, during, or just after delivery, another suffers lifelong impairments such as epilepsy, cerebral palsy, or developmental delay. The costs associated with such disabilities strain health systems, while caring for disabled or sick children burdens families; furthermore, the loss of children’s potential future earnings exacerbates the cycle of deprivation for families and societies.2
1. UNICEF, 2018
2. The Lancet, Vol 375, March 27, 2010 “Causes of deaths in children younger than 5 years in China in 2008”
3. He at al. "National and subnational all-cause and cause-specific child mortality in China, 1996-2015." Lancet Volume 5, Issue 2 (2017): Pages e186-e197
4. Chen, Yin, and Xie, "Suggestions to amellorate the inequity in urban/rural allocatino of healthcare resources in China." International Journal for Equity in Health Volume 13, Issue 34 (2014)
5. "Annual per capita disposable Income of rural and urban households in China from 1990 to 2017" Statistica. 2017.
CMF is implementing our Comprehensive Neonatal Health Project to combat the preventable deaths of newborn babies in China.