Reducing Child Mortality Rates in Brazil
A generation ago, Brazil had a staggering child
mortality rate. In 1990, Brazil reported 58
deaths per every 1,000 live births, according to UNICEF. In recent years,
however, Brazil has been able to drastically lower its child mortality numbers.
As of 2011, Brazil had reduced the rate to 16 deaths per every 1,000 live
With this impressive
improvement, Brazil has met the United Nation's Millennium Development Goal,
which encouraged the nation to lower the number of deaths of children under 5
years of age by 73 percent by 2015. During a 2012 press conference in
Washington, D.C., Alexandre Padilha, Brazil's minister of health, praised this
as a huge accomplishment.
"Achieving the target
set by the U.N. before the deadline is a
great victory for Brazil," Padilha said, as quoted by Portal Brasil.
Many internal and
external factors came into play to help Brazil meet this goal, but UNICEF cited
improvements to the country's health care system as a prominent reason. In the
1990s, Brazil launched various community health programs and family health
initiatives to ensure its residents — particularly children and mothers —
receive the care they need. Additionally, Brazil has spent the past decade
working to improve sanitation and provide better maternal education.
Brazil has also received
a great deal of support from ChildFund, which works in
some of the most remote communities and urban favelas to fight child poverty and
ensure children grow up healthy, go to school and form strong bonds with their
families and communities.
Room for Growth
Brazil has worked hard
to meet the U.N.'s goals, but it still has a lot of work to do to catch up with
other developed nations. As of 2011, Singapore had the lowest under-5 mortality
rate, with only 2.6 deaths for every 1,000 live births, UNICEF states.
Today, the biggest
challenges to continued improvement of Brazil's child mortality rate are
neonatal complications; more than 65 percent of deaths of children under age 5
are from birth complications, sepsis, meningitis and tetanus. According to
UNICEF, pneumonia accounts for 6 percent of child mortalities, and diarrhea
accounts for 3 percent.
trains community volunteers to make home visits to help families improve
their children's nutrition and health, and we also offer classes on reproductive
health and child development.