Healthcare & Lifesciences Talking Points | 04/11/2016


In today’s talking points: China’s fertility rates plunging, despite the ‘Two-Child Policy’; Australian study: Children who lack vitamin D more likely to develop asthma, allergies; Women’s health concerns over ‘fake sanitary pads’ in China; Australian Doctors dispute claims of GP oversaturation

China’s fertility rates plunging, despite the ‘Two-Child Policy’

According to the recent figures by National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), China is now the country with the lowest fertility rate in the world. The data showed that China’s total fertility rate (TFR) is just 1.05 for 2015, which is the lowest fertility rate of any country in the world. TFR refers to the number of children a woman is expected to have if she lived to the end of her childbearing years. Despite the end of China’s one-child policy early this year, despite possible short-term spike in birth rates, the country’s population will face a sharp decline over the next few decades. Current demographic trends forecasts 40% fewer women of childbearing age after 2017 than there are now, which means China’s fertility rates will have a drastic decline after 2017.

Read more at Caixin

Australian study: Children who lack vitamin D more likely to develop asthma, allergies

At an institute in Western Australia, researchers found that children who lacked vitamin D at a young age were more likely to develop asthma, allergies as well as eczema as they grew older. Researchers were quick to warn against rushing out to purchase vitamin D supplements, however citing more research as being required.  “In a country like Australia where too much sun exposure can prove harmful, it’s all about finding a safe and sensible balance between exposure and need.” A researcher said. The study, which monitored children from birth to age 10, was the first of its kind.

Read more at Xinhua

Women’s health concerns over ‘fake sanitary pads’ in China

Two suspects were arrested in Nanchang, Jiangxi Province, who are believed to have produced millions of ‘fake sanitary towel’ in dirty facilities. The fakes have gone on sale across China presumably since 2013. According to Nanchang News, the fakes were sold in supermarkets under the trademarks of famous Chinese brands such as ABC or Whisper. Fake sanitary towels with a resale value of more than 40m RMB ($5.9m) were seized by the Nanchang Public Security Bureau. Chinese authorities advised consumers to avoid buying discounted products. Women in rural china are especially at risk since they have less access to information and rely more on cut-price products. Chinese social media went viral since the scandal surfaced. “Why would someone want to hurt me at my most vulnerable?” wrote one social media user.

Read more at BBC

Australian Doctors dispute claims of GP oversaturation

Although Australians have been hearing for years about a lack of doctors, the Australian population research institute is warning that there is actually an oversupply, leading to higher Medicare costs. A doctor practicing in Mount Druitt denies the claims stating that only this year he opened his books to new patients, having had them closed for 6 years prior. The institute claims that government policy on GP workforce is dominated by the myth that there is a shortage of GPs when in fact there is a serious surplus. GP’s say that the problem is not the number of GPs in Australia, but their distribution and concentration in cities. No easy solution exists for the distribution of GPs between urban and rural areas.

Read more at ABC