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Celebrities back pregnancy campaign
Latest Updated by 2006-05-16 14:48:52
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Figures from the Ministry of Health show that while the maternal mortality rate in eastern regions, such as Shanghai, has declined to 10 per 100,000 births, which is close that achieved by developed countries, the rate in western regions is still as high as 80 to 100 per 100,000 because of poverty.

To mobilize society to assist poorer, pregnant women in China's central and western regions, over 20 Chinese singers, actors and actresses joined the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation (CFPA) in Beijing yesterday -- Mother's Day -- to promote a campaign called "Action 120: Maternal and Infant Project."

Wang Xingzui, the foundation's secretary-general, explained that the figure "120" was -- "1" stood for one family; "2" stood for two lives and "0" signified a zero risk in giving birth.

"A safe birth is crucial to a family and most of the deaths in the countryside could be prevented with easily implemented and affordable measures," he said. "We hope with today's activity the project will receive more public attention."

The project, which was launched in 2000 by CFPA, one of the country's largest non-governmental organizations, is aimed at complementing the maternal and infant healthcare system and reducing or exempting medical treatment fees for poorer mothers.

"Our primary goal is to make sure that every pregnant woman delivers her baby in a hospital instead of at home," Wang said.

As part of the project each expectant mother receives up to 100 yuan (US$12) if she gives birth naturally and up to 800 yuan (US$100) if a Caesarean is required. 

The funding should be enough to cover at least one-third of the total expense involved in giving birth, according to CFPA. Prenatal checks and emergency support facilities have also been set up.

The project currently covers more than 700,000 people in five counties in east China's Fujian Province, northwest Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, southwest Yunnan Province and Chongqing Municipality. More than 20,000 poorer mothers and infants had benefited from the project, according to CFPA figures. 

"And within the next three years our project will cover about 2.5 million people in 10 counties," Wang said. He added that a sound mechanism had been set up to ensure donations were given to those most in need.

Editor: Yan

By: Source: China Daily Website
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