The China Medical Education Association and WHO Collaborating Center for Children's Health jointly launched a "Defectless Baby Program" on Thursday in Beijing, as the day marks China's Birth Defects Prevention Day.
Sponsored by German drug manufacturer Bayer AG, the program aims to popularize the basic skills of maternal and infant health care, improve maternal health literacy, and enhance the quality of births in China.
It will raise awareness of maternal health and run education programs.
The program will highlight the importance of prenatal eugenic check-ups and folic acid supplementation in early pregnancy, as well as carry out early screening, early treatment and early rehabilitation of newborns with birth defects in order to improve their life quality.
"In China, there are 800,000 to 1,200,000 babies born with birth defects every year, with an average of one baby born with birth defects every 30 seconds.
"It is important to enhance the public's attention to birth defects prevention and promote relevant popular science education," said He Yong, general manager of Bayer Consumer Health China.
Han Hui, researcher and deputy director of the International Project Cooperation Department in Maternal and Child Center of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said that birth defects not only affect children's health and quality of life, but also affect the quality of population health.
"Over the past decade, the death rate of children caused by birth defects has decreased significantly. The prevention of birth defects has played an important role in improving the quality of the birth population and the health level of children.
"Clinical institutions, scientific research institutions, teaching institutions and other professional institutions should actively participate in health promotion actions and prevention of birth defects, and provide the whole society with methods to prevent birth defects," Han said.
According to Han, the methods include popularizing knowledge of maternal and infant healthcare, advocating for premarital examinations, prenatal eugenic examinations, prenatal diagnoses, and prevention and control of birth defects.
"In the next four months, the program will host online and offline popular science education activities, providing prospective mothers with knowledge of prenatal and postnatal care," said Wang Zhen, director of the Special Committee on Self-Care and Pharmacotherapy of CMEA.
Furthermore, it will organize a roadshow of expert groups to deliver popular science lectures and free clinics across 10 cities in six provinces with high births rate in China.
The roadshow will start in Shanghai, before traveling through Urumqi, Jinan and Qingdao in Shandong province, Zhengzhou and Wuhan, covering a total of 9,750 kilometers.
Offline lectures will be conducted in Nanchong in Jiangsu province, Leshan and Luzhou in Sichuan province, and Guangzhou and Foshan in Guangdong province, to provide premarital check-up guidance, health lectures and counseling for people of childbearing age and their families, and to distribute popular health science materials for interactive publicity activities.
"We are ready to work with all sectors of the society to do our best for the public welfare cause of preventing birth defects, to provide every baby with best physique, and to carry out our mission of empowering the transformation of everyday health," He from Bayer said.