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City keeps top life expectancy on mainland
By Cai Wenjun

A BABY born in Shanghai last year can expect to live to the age of 82, the longest life expectancy on China's mainland.

Shanghai Health Bureau said yesterday that registered residents' average life expectancy at birth reached 82.41 in 2012. The figure was slightly below 2011's 82.51, but the bureau said it was still at a very high level and some slight change was normal.

The drop didn't mean that quality of life or health care was poorer than in the previous year, the bureau said.

Shanghai has seen a steady growth in residents' life expectancy in the past five years - from 81.28 in 2008.

Meanwhile, the city's maternal mortality rate fell from 7.36 per 100,000 in 2011 to 7.1 per 100,000 last year.

The infant mortality rate dropped to 5.04 per 1,000 from 5.7 in 2011 with improved health care, wider health education and more awareness of prenatal care.

Both rates were on a par with those of developed countries, the bureau said.

Life expectancy and the maternal and infant mortality rates are the three main indicators of the level of medical services and people's living standards, according to the bureau.

The prevalence of serious infectious diseases last year remained at 2011's historic low of 140 in every 100,000, with diseases such as SARS, bird flu, measles, cholera and dysentery under tight control, the bureau said.

City hospitals provided 214 million medical services - outpatient, emergency and surgery - last year, up 5.92 percent from 2011, and delivered 239,600 babies, the most in a decade.

The city introduced more public health services last year including free children's care and health checks for people over 65, and added major services such as community colon cancer screening and pneumonia vaccinations for people over 60. Hospice care and general physician service were expanded and Traditional Chinese Medicine was promoted in community hospitals.

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