Two out of three baby deaths could be avoided in Brazil – Sade

Breastfeeding, vaccination and access to basic health care are pillars to combat infant mortality (photo: Elza Fiuza/Agência Brasil)

THE Brazil registers 22.9 thousand per year deaths in babies of up to 1 year that could be avoided if there were treatment for illnesses like diarrhea. The risk increases as the vaccination coverage. The data are from the Observatório de Sade na Infância (Observa Infância), which averaged the numbers recorded between the years 2018 to 2020.

The evaluation indicates that two out of three deaths of babies in this age group could be avoided in the country with actions such as vaccination, breastfeed and access basic attention in health.

Observa Infância researcher Patricia Boccolini recalled that, in 2019, Brazil lost the measles eradication seal, due to the drop in vaccination coverage, including for other diseases. “We have been observing the increase in the number of cases, many of them progress to hospitalization,” she said in an EBC interview.

Patricia, who is linked to the Center for Information, Public Policies and Inclusion (Nippis), reported that, in the period of three years, there were more than 1,600 hospitalizations due to measles, a number that had not been recorded since the beginning of the 2000s. In the same period, there were 26 deaths of children under 5 years of age because of the disease. “We haven’t had a single death from measles in Brazil for years,” she added.

The Observa Infância study, which identifies the causes of preventable deaths among babies, used the crossing of large databases of the Ministry of Health, the National Immunization Program (PNI) and the Mortality Information System.

“Our job is to ask these bases what society cannot ignore: what kills our children? What can we do to prevent these deaths?”, highlighted Patrcia.

The observatory also sought to assess the vaccination of children under 5 years of age. According to the researcher, information from each of the more than 5,500 Brazilian municipalities was analyzed and it was possible to conclude that there is a lot of inequality in the country’s vaccination coverage. “This inequality is mainly related to access to basic care. Where basic care is not enough, the drop in vaccination coverage is more accentuated”, she pointed out.

“As vaccination coverage has been falling in recent years, where there is a better structure of primary care, this number drops less, that is, how fundamental primary health care is to maintain vaccination coverage”, added the researcher from the Information Laboratory in Health at the Institute of Communication and Scientific and Technological Information in Health (Icict/Fiocruz) at Fiocruz, Cristiano Boccolini, who is also participating in the study.

The researcher added that more than half of the babies killed each year could have been saved by adequate prenatal care and good postpartum care from pregnant women. Cristiano also defended the strengthening of public policies to promote breastfeeding in the first hour of life and exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months, because there is a direct relationship with the prevention of most infant deaths.

“In the study that I coordinated, from the National Institute of Infant Food and Nutrition, we observed that 62% of mothers were able to feed their children in the first hour of life in 2019. This is below the 80% that the WHO [Organizao Mundial de Sade] recommends”, revealed the researcher.

Cristiano Boccolini also highlighted the issue of advertisements that extol formulas that replace breastfeeding.

“We have some bottlenecks that happen. First, there is an excessive consumption of infant formulas. We have the industry convincing doctors and families to use infant formulas, instead of breastfeeding their babies. breastfeeding, has a second bottleneck, which is maternity leave, which today is in four months. Federal government companies and some state governments adopt the concept of a citizen company that extends maternity leave for six months, but the person needs to be in formal work, which is not the case for most mothers”, he said, highlighting the importance of strengthening the support network for mothers in primary care.

The study also indicated that, between 2018 and 2020, Rio de Janeiro was the Brazilian municipality with the highest absolute number of deaths (20) from diarrhea among babies up to 1 year old, followed by Belém (19), Manaus (14); and Fortaleza and So Paulo (13). In the same age group, the capital of Rio de Janeiro ranked second (62) among the municipalities with the highest absolute number of deaths from pneumonia, behind only So Paulo (99). “With the expansion of this Basic Health Care, we would be able to significantly reduce these deaths”, said the researcher.

“We are in the measles campaign week and it is important to emphasize that parents take their children to be vaccinated. We are coming from successive years of decline and need to rescue. The campaign is a good time to remember that those who took the first dose need to take the second. Those who haven’t taken any already take the first. It’s important to make the population aware of this”, warned the researcher.

According to Fiocruz, the Childhood Health Observatory “is a scientific dissemination initiative to bring data and information about the health of children up to 5 years old to the knowledge of society”. The intention is to expand access to qualified information and facilitate understanding of data obtained from national information systems.

The observatory brings together researchers from the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz) and the Arthur de S Earp Neto University Center (Unifase) of the Petrópolis School of Medicine, with funds from the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. .

Leave a Comment