Lawmaker urges to curb birth defects

Updated: 2012-03-10 21:05


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BEIJING - A Chinese lawmaker on Saturday called for more pre-pregnancy, pregnancy, and post-pregnancy family planning efforts to prevent birth defects and disabilities in rural areas.

More attention should be paid to food and drug safety for pregnant women and infants, Zhu Xinkang, a deputy to the National People's Congress, the country's top legislature, said on the sidelines of the annual legislative session.

Special funds should be spent to improve the infrastructure of rural clinics, and free prenatal screening and neonatal screening should be provided to mothers and infants, said Zhu, the Communist Party chief the village of Dagang in east China's Zhejiang province.

China has seen an increase of 800,000 to 1.2 million infants born with congenital disabilities or birth defects each year, most of whom were born in rural areas or the country's remote and border regions, according to Zhu.

Zhu also warned that it is dangerous that most young people in rural areas tend to choose spouses who live in the same small region, as this could have a negative impact on both the physical and mental health of their next generation.