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Wedding-to-cradle site to open in Shanghai
Updated: 2004-11-15 08:50

Shanghai will open a pioneering family planning center later this month in Hongkou District that provides one-stop shopping for everything from wedding arrangements to maternity care.

If the test program proves successful, the concept may be applied citywide, district officials indicated.

Officials of Hongkou's Population and Family Planning Commission said the effort stems for their desire to upgrade wedding, pregnancy and child-rearing services.

"The new agency will provide a full range of options that can be customized to meet individual needs," said Fan Lingjun, commission vice director. "We also want to introduce more market competition to the industry."

The commission plans to open its first trial center in Quyang subdistrict by the end of November. One or two others will be added later.

The service menu will include wedding planning, honeymoon arrangements, information on contraception and pregnancy checks.

"We also can help people with arrangements for maternity hospitals, qualified ayis for new mothers and expert instruction in child raising," Fan added.

The government will continue to provide such basic services as reproductive education and condoms free of charge. The other services will be offered on a fee basis, some of which will be handled by the private sector. The family planning commission will be responsible for overall quality control.

Many residents are looking forward to the start of the new agency.

"The pregnancy guidance, health care lectures and hospital arrangements will be very useful to new couples who don't have much experience on these issues," said Ding Xiaoyan, a 27-year-old woman who plans to marry later this month. "Since the agency is directed by the family planning commission, the teachers, doctors and other staff members should be well qualified."

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