Beijing: The life expectancy of Chinese women has increased from 73.33 years in 2000 to 77.37 years in 2013, indicating considerable improvement in their health, according to the country's health authorities.
The rate of maternal death was reduced in the period to 23.2 in every 100,000 women, down 56.2 percent from that of 2000, said Wang Guoqiang, vice minister of the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) Thursday, Xinhua reported.
The mortality rate for infants and children under five years also dropped 70.5 percent and 69.8 percent respectively, Wang said.
But Wang also pointed out difficulties and challenges in maternal and child healthcare.
Greater efforts are needed to realise the UN Millennium Development Goals on health, he said.
China's maternal death rate lags behind the UN goal. Although its mortality rate of children under five has met the UN goal, 200,000 Chinese children die every year, the fifth highest number worldwide, Wang said.
It is both very urgent and difficult to improve women and children's health in the less developed west China and the country's rural areas as well as among its migrant population, he noted.
Health risks suffered by Chinese women include breast cancer, cervical cancer and leukemia, while the high rates of deliveries by caesarean sections and infertility among women of childbearing age have become alarming public health problems, said Wang.
In recent years, birth defects have accounted for 19.1 percent of infant deaths, making this the second-biggest cause of infant mortality in China.
Li Bin, minister in charge of the NHFPC, stressed during the conference that health departments will need to focus on higher allocation of medical resources and boosting capacity in providing better obstetrics services.