Number of nursery care slots increased

Updated: Mar 1, 2024 China Daily Print
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A nurse takes care of a newborn baby at Gansu Provincial Maternity and Childcare Hospital in Lanzhou. [Photo/Xinhua]

China has increased the number of nursery care slots per 1,000 people to nearly 3.4 and is promoting the formulation of a national law on child care services as part of efforts to improve its fertility support system, health officials said this week.

Li Bin, vice-minister of the National Health Commission, said the central government has devoted more than 5 billion yuan ($700 million) to support the establishment of affordable nursery care facilities across the country since a key guideline was released in July 2022.

China has around 100,000 nursery care facilities, providing about 4.8 million nursery care slots.

By the end of September, the number of nursery care slots per 1,000 had reached 3.36, compared with 2.5 by the end of 2022, Li told a news conference held by the State Council Information Office on Thursday.

The goal is to raise the number to 4.5 by next year,

Policies to encourage births and reduce the costs of giving birth and rearing and educating children have been hot topics among policy advisers and legislators ahead of the two sessions — China's largest annual political event — which will open on Monday.

Li added that the threshold for special additional personal income tax deductions for taking care of children under age 3 has been raised from 1,000 to 2,000 yuan a month.

"Twenty-one provinces are exploring issuing child care subsidies," he said. "Meanwhile, a large number of regions have extended the length of maternity leave to at least 158 days."

Yang Jinrui, deputy director of the commission's department of population surveillance and family development, told a news conference on Wednesday said that it is advancing the inclusion of a law on nursery care services in the legislative plans of the Standing Committee of the 14th National People's Congress, China's top legislature.

The commission has laid out standards to regulate the establishment, management and official registration of nursery care facilities, as well as several guidelines for offering standard services.

Commission spokesman Mi Feng said that by the end of last year, the infant mortality rate in the nation had dropped to 4.5 per 1,000 live births.

The mortality rate of children under 5 had dropped to 6.2 per 1,000, and the maternal mortality rate had dropped to 15.1 per 100,000.

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