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MOSCOW, October 11 (Itar-Tass) —— Russia over the past 30 years has achieved a three-fold decrease in infant mortality. Over the past five years the infant mortality rate declined by 26.5 percent, the Minister of Health and Social Development Tatyana Golikova said on Tuesday at the opening of the first international forum Ways of Reduce Infant Mortality: the Russian Experience.
"According to the WHO, about 8 million children under five years of age die in the world every year, of whom almost 40 percent are infants and children in the first month of life," Golikova said. She declared that Russia could share its great experience of efforts to reduce infant mortality.
Golikova named some programs that allowed for influencing the solution of this problem. In particular, the program Maternity Certificate has improved the quality of medical care for pregnant women and newborns, as well as increased the interest of women in early examination by a doctor. As a result, 98 percent of women in Russia today visit antenatal clinics in the early months of pregnancy.
The health minister said that at the State Scientific Center for Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Perinatology there will be created a new neonatal center, equipped in keeping with the latest achievements science and technology. She recalled that in recent years in Russia 19 billion rubles was allocated for building modern perinatal centers. In 2010 twelve such centers went operational and nine centers should be completed this year, and another will open in 2012.
New perinatal centers will be essential for a variety of reasons, including for nursing children with low birth weight. As of 2012 Russia will shift to new rules of keeping record of infants according to WHO criteria. The new centers boast modern medical equipment and their staff has received advanced training.
"Despite the fact that the focus at our forum is on infant mortality and ways of its reduction, I would like to say a few words about birth rates," Golikova said. In 2007-2010 the total fertility rate rose by 21.2 percent, and the number of children born in 2010 was up more than 14.7 percent from the 2006 level.
"We are working hard to make this trend continued," has assured the minister.
Golikova said that Russia had achieved significant positive results in increasing fertility, reducing infant and maternal mortality, and it is ready to contribute to the implementation of the Initiative for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, declared at a meeting of the G8 heads of states of in Muskoka, Canada, on 25-26 June 2010.