BEIJING, March 6 (Xinhua) -- China has released a regulation to facilitate
the screening of birth defects across the country, according to the Ministry of
The rule, issued on Thursday, will come into effect on June 1.
The defects to be checked include congenital hypothyroidism, which impedes
infants' growth and brain development, and phenylke-tonuria (PKU), which causes
mental disabilities and hearing disorders, among others.
Infants after birth will go through procedures like taking blood samples
and listening test.
The screening program will help reduce the incidence of debilitating
conditions, the China Daily reported Friday.
A Chinese baby with some form of physical defect is born every 30 seconds,
according to the National Population and Family planning Commission.
The latest statistics show China has about 20 million people with hearing
disabilities alone. Among them, more than 800,000 are children below the age of
six. The number is increasing at a rate of 20,000 to 30,000 kids per year.
China started to screen newborns for ailments like congenital
hypothyroidism and phenylke-tonuria (PKU) back in 1981, but the effort has only
covered about 3 percent of the total of infants.