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Campaign to publicize pre-marital check-ups
Updated: 2005-01-19 21:43

China initiated a nationwide campaign Wednesday to publicize information about pre-marital check-ups to curb the spread of hereditary and contagious diseases and improve the quality of China's population.

The campaign, scheduled to last for one year, will disseminate information about the importance and necessity of pre-marital check-ups among Chinese people through seminars, documents and other methods.

This campaign was initiated by the Women and Children Work Committee of State Council, the Ministry of Civil Affairs and the Ministry of Justice in an effort to guide more young couples to get check-ups.

China adopted the new Regulation on Marriage Registration on Oct. 1, 2003. Under the new regulation, people registered with the civil affairs departments for marriage can decide themselves whether to have a physical exam before they get married.

The number of birth defects has been rising in China since the government made pre-marriage health check optional, instead of a prerequisite for obtaining a marriage permit.

More than 600,000 babies are born in central China's Hunan Province each year. Since the pre-marriage health check became voluntary, the incidence of babies with birth defects has risen from 0.9 percent in 2001 to 1.24 percent in 2003, said Hu Rushan, an official with the Health Bureau of Hunan Province.

At the opening ceremony of the campaign, Gu Xiulian, vice- chairwoman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of China, called for the departments concerned to fulfill their obligations in publicizing knowledge of the pre-marital check-up.

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