To investigate the levels of primary health care services for children and their changes in Zhejiang Province, China from 1998 to 2011.
The data were drawn from Zhejiang maternal and child health statistics collected under the supervision of the Health Bureau of Zhejiang Province. Primary health care coverage, hospital deliveries, low birth weight, postnatal visits, breastfeeding, underweight, early neonatal (<7 days) mortality, neonatal mortality, infant mortality and under-5 mortality were investigated.
The coverage rates for children under 3 years old and children under 7 years old increased in the last 14 years. The hospital delivery rate was high during the study period, and the overall difference narrowed. There was a significant difference (P<0.001) between the prevalence of low birth weight in 1998 (2.03%) and the prevalence in 2011 (2.71%). The increase in low birth weight was more significant in urban areas than in rural areas. The postnatal visit rate increased from 95.00% to 98.45% with a significant difference (P<0.001). The breastfeeding rate was the highest in 2004 at 74.79% and lowest in 2008 at 53.86%. The prevalence of underweight in children under 5 years old decreased from 1.63% to 0.65%, and the prevalence was higher in rural areas. The early neonatal, neonatal, infant and under-5 mortality rates decreased from 6.66‰, 8.67‰, 11.99‰ and 15.28‰ to 1.69‰, 2.36‰, 3.89‰ and 5.42‰, respectively (P<0.001). The mortality rates in rural areas were slightly higher than those in urban areas each year, and the mortality rates were lower in Ningbo, Wenzhou, and Jiaxing regions and higher in Quzhou and Lishui regions.
Primary health care services for children in Zhejiang Province improved from 1998 to 2011. Continued high rates of low birth weight in urban areas and mortality in rural areas may be addressed with improvements in health awareness and medical technology.