Pregnant women across China will receive free screenings for HIV, syphilis, and Hepatitis B, and if they test positive, they will be treated at hospitals to prevent them from transmitting the diseases to their children.
"This is the first nationwide health policy meant mainly to prevent such infections from spreading from mothers to children, and the central government will spend at least 700 million Yuan ($106 million) a year on it," said Wang Ning, deputy director of the National Center for AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Disease Control and Prevention.
Advertisement"Thanks to the known ways of preventing the transmission of disease between mothers and children and the new policy, more innocent newborns will be protected from contracting such viruses," the China Daily quoted him, as saying.
Wang predicted the policy will prove useful in controlling epidemics, particularly of syphilis, and hopes that the policy will undermine that increase.
"It's particularly helpful for the relatively poor areas, which can't afford such services for locals," he added.
In addition to regular health checks and care for women during pregnancy or labor, the Chinese Halth Ministry document also said hospitals and clinics should provide intervention services to prevent mothers from giving their babies AIDS, syphilis or Hepatitis B.
It said women should get tested for those three diseases in their first health check during a pregnancy, ensuring that infections can be identified and remedies applied early on.