Prime Minister calls on ministry to step up medical care for children

To help reduce the country’s infant mortality rate by 4.5%, the health ministry is reportedly looking to expand a program to improve perinatal care

  • By Lee Hsin-fang and Jake Chung / Journalist, with editor-in-chief

Yesterday, Prime Minister Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) called on the Ministry of Health and Welfare to increase resources to improve medical care for children amid high infant mortality rate.

The country’s infant mortality rate, at 4.5%, is significantly higher than Japan’s 2.5% and South Korea’s 3.2%, Su said.

“It’s embarrassing. It shouldn’t be like this,” Su said at a cabinet meeting in Taipei, adding that advances in medicine and public health in Taiwan should reduce death rates.

According to Interior Ministry data, Taiwan’s population growth reversed from last year, with the number of newborns reaching a record high of 165,249.

Referring to a program approved by the Executive Yuan in February last year, Su said more resources could be allocated to improve the scope of the program and speed up its implementation.

The program, which runs until 2024, aims to achieve eight goals: improving perinatal care; establish emergency medicine networks; increase the quality of medical care in severe or rare cases; develop a transport system for children suffering from serious illnesses; establish a platform to help identify difficult-to-diagnose conditions; step up the training of medical personnel specializing in pediatric care; promote the development of specialized care units in pediatric services; and promote counseling services for disadvantaged families.

The Department of Health and Welfare said it is implementing the program through medical centers, regional hospitals, local hospitals and clinics.

At the regional level, the program established eight medical task forces to diagnose and treat children with severe or rare diseases, as well as a platform that would help doctors diagnose such conditions, the ministry said.

At the local level, hospitals have improved their capacities for perinatal care and emergency medicine for infants, while three regional hospitals have started to test an ‘open hospital’ model – allowing pregnant women to undergo treatment. prenatal examinations in local clinics, before giving birth in a hospital. – which would allow continued medical care, he said.

At the clinic level, the program began testing pediatric specialty treatments in 10 counties and cities this year, with more than 53,370 children under three visiting pediatricians this month, he said. .

It has become imperative for the ministry to protect the health of every newborn baby, and the program provides children with the best medical care they can receive at every stage of their life, he said.

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