China sees sharp decline in birth defect incidence


(Photo: China Daily)

BEIJING, July 25 (Xinhua) -- The incidence rates of 22 major birth defects have decreased significantly in China thanks to years of prevention and treatment measures, China's National Health Commission (NHC) said Thursday.

The incidence of neural tube defects and thalassemia have dropped by over 70 percent and 80 percent, respectively, said Qin Geng, an official with the NHC at a press conference.

According to Qin, China has been adopting measures including educating the public, prenatal screening and diagnosis, and neonatal screening to deal with birth defects.

Qin added that China still faces severe challenges in preventing and curing birth defects including congenital heart disease.

The commission will expand the scope of birth defect screening, make more efforts in impoverished areas and better educate the public about the prevention of birth defects.