BEIJING, Spet. 18 (Xinhua) -- An increasing number of Chinese mothers-to-be are choosing to give birth in hospitals, which contributes to the drop in China's maternal death rate, according to a report released by the National Health Commission (NHC).
China's rate of hospital delivery has remained over 99 percent in recent six years, and the percentage in rural areas has seen a rise from 51.7 percent in 1996 to 99.8 percent in 2018.
As maternal healthcare continues to improve, the country's maternal death rate, by 2018, has dropped to 18.3 out of every 100,000, down 79.4 percent from 1990, said the NHC's report.
China has also seen a reduced gap in the maternal death rate between urban and rural areas. By 2018, the maternal death rate in urban and rural areas dropped by 81.2 percent and 67.2 percent, respectively, from 1990, with the ratio dropping to 1:1.3.
The country has given priority to enhancing healthcare for women and children in poverty-stricken regions via a three-year action plan for poverty alleviation through healthcare.
Major healthcare projects such as diseases screening for newborns now cover all poverty-stricken areas in China, according to the report.
The country also reached the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals in 2014, ahead of time, to cut down the maternal death rate by 75 percent from that in 1990, the report said.