China’s newborn death rate fell 62 percent between 1996 and 2008 as the country has pushed for more hospital-based deliveries, according to a new study studying the country’s maternity and child mortality system.

The mortality rate in hospitals was “much lower” than for births in all regions, said the study published in the Lancet medical journal. Funding for the study was provided by the China Medical Board and UNICEF, China.

“Other countries can learn from China’s substantial progress reducing neonatal mortality,” the authors of the study wrote.

China’s facility-based strategy on the issue is “much greater” than that reported for community-based-interventions, the authors wrote.

The study should provide a “great impetus” for other countries “to increase demand for and quality of facility-based intrapartum care.”

The deaths among newborns were down 62 percent to 9.3 for every 1,000 live births in 2008. The rate in 1996 was 24.7.

However babies born in some rural counties were almost “four times more like to die” than were children born in urban hospitals, the study found.

The study was based on a study of China’s National maternal and Child Mortality Surveillance System. It used data from 116 surveillance sites in China, including 37 urban districts and 79 rural counties.

First listed among nine authors in the study was Xing Lin Feng PhD, of the Department of Health Policy and Administration, School of Public Health, Peking University in Beijing.