Sun, Nov 29, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Government urged to start child health and well-being unit

Staff writer, with CNA

Experts at a child health forum in Taipei yesterday suggested that the government set up a special unit to deal with child mortality, an issue that they said requires greater attention despite the falling rate.

In particular, Taiwan needs to do more to reduce the incidence of child deaths in traffic accidents, said Lu Tsung-hsueh (呂宗學), professor and chairman of the Institute of Public Health at National Cheng Kung University.

About one-third of deaths among children are avoidable, Lu said at the forum, titled: “How to enhance child health and well-being in Taiwan in 2015 and beyond,” which was hosted by the Child Health Alliance Taiwan.

Emeritus professor of pediatrics at National Taiwan University Lue Hung-chi (呂鴻基) said the government should set up a unit to deal specifically with the issue of child mortality.

He said greater attention should be given to the health and well-being of the nation’s children, particularly in light of the low birth rate and an aging society.

The Ministry of Education should take steps to improve the physical and mental health education of schoolchildren, said Lue, a member of the alliance.

Taiwan’s child mortality rate dropped from 9.7 in every 1,000 in 1990 to 4.8 in every 1,000 last year, an average annual decline of 3.9 percent, Lu said.

It is lower than South Korea (4.1 percent), but higher than Japan (3.1 percent), he said.

Child mortality refers to the death children under the age of five.

At the forum, the alliance published an index on children’s health and happiness that assessed more than 20 developed nations.

Taiwan ranked poorly in the categories of mortality rate among children aged one to nine, health and obesity among children aged 13 to 15, and others, it said.

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