|A newborn baby is taken care of at Gansu Provincial Maternity and Childcare Hospital in Lanzhou in February 2016. [Photo/Xinhua]|
China's National Health Commission has launched a project to screen for congenital heart defects (CHD) among newborns in 24 provincial-level regions, including Shanghai and Hebei, to lower the country's neonatal mortality rate.
The screening, given to newborns within six to 72 hours after birth, is expected to help better identify and treat babies with CHD.
If babies receive necessary diagnosis and treatment at an earlier time, it can lead to fewer newborn and infant deaths as well as a better prognosis for newborns with CHD, said Qin Geng, an official with the commission, who added that birth defects remain a prominent problem in China.
With a relatively high morbidity rate among all birth defects, CHD is one of the main causes of infant deaths in China.
China had an infant mortality of 6.8 per 1,000 last year, a 34-percent drop from that of 2012, and it plans to reduce the figure to five per 1,000 by 2030.