Nursing rooms offer help for mothers on Chunyun journeys

Updated 2017-01-26 16:51:11 Xinhua

Migrant worker Li Caimei decided to ride a motorbike home, with her newborn baby.

She did so to save some extra money, though a train ticket from south China's Guangdong Province where she works to her home in neighboring Guang Xi Zhuang Autonomous Region, some 250 kilometers away, only costs about 60 yuan (8.7 U.S. dollars).

It is not a long journey among the 3 billion trips expected to be made during China's Chunyun, or Spring Festival travel rush, but not ideal for her baby.

The two-month old baby soon burst into tears.

"The temperature was too low, my baby even got a cold," she said.

Parking to take a rest at a service center, specially set up for Chunyun, Li was pleasantly surprised to find an electric heater, hot ginger tea and a maternity ward.

Satisfied with milk in the warm room, the baby stopped crying. Staff at the service center also offered to take care of the baby for a while, so Li could take a break.

"We found during last year's Chunyun that nursing rooms were necessary but we did not have enough," said Jiang Yingming, who works at the center and is mother of a six-year old. "Especially for breastfeeding mothers, it's important to set up a private, warm space for them."

Guangxi's Hezhou city is a major transport hub for people traveling home to nearby provinces such as Hunan and Guizhou. Local police estimate that over 200,000 migrant workers will travel home by motorbike this year, and so have decided to set up mother-baby facilities for the first time.

"Such rooms offer much help to mothers, children and those who suffer injuries on the way home," Jiang told Xinhua.

China has improved public facilities for mothers and babies in recent years. Airports, train and gas stations in many cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Nanning, and Tibet's Lhasa, all have mother-baby facilities during the annual travel rush.

A guideline issued by the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) said that all airports and main train stations in provincial capitals should have mother and child facilities by the end of 2016. By the end of 2020, all public places should offer such facilities.

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