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Revista de Saúde Pública

On-line version ISSN 1518-8787Print version ISSN 0034-8910


MONTEIRO, Carlos Augusto; MEDINA, Maria Célia Guerra; BENICIO, Maria Helena D'Aquino  and  MEYER, Maurício. A study of children's health in S. Paulo city (Brazil), 1984/1985: IX - Coverage and quality of maternal and child care. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 1988, vol.22, n.3, pp.170-178. ISSN 1518-8787.

A survey of 1,016 randomly selected children under five years of age was carried out in S. Paulo city, Brazil, with a view to studying the epidemiology of health conditions. The quality and the coverage of maternal and child care were observed. Both characteristics were estimated by means of domiciliary interviews. The prenatal care coverage was 92.9%. In 70% of the cases prenatal care started in the first quarter of pregnancy and the number of visits was 6 or more. Ninety-nine percent of the children were born in hospitals and in 47.1% of the cases caesarean section was mentioned. Ninety-eight percent of the children went, at least once, to well-baby clinics, about two thirds of them during the first two months of life. With regard to the activities provided by those clinics, a great concentration of visits in the first year of life (averaging 7.7 visits per child) was observed as well as a high percentage of immunized children (Sabin 86.7%, DPT 85.1%, BCG 89.0%, Measles 85.9%), a striking decrease of visits after 12 months of age and a very small proportion of children attended by an odontology specialist (19.5%). Considering the global coverage of maternal and infant care, minimal differences were observed between socioeconomic strata. Nevertheless the differences were impressive when qualitative aspects of the care were taken into account. Compared with other surveys made in Brazil, the present one shows that the situation of S. Paulo city is better than that of other urban areas of the country. It was also observed that there has been an increase in maternal and child care coverage over the last decade. The main problems still found in the city seem to be related to the qualitative aspects of the assistance. Early attraction of women for prenatal care and an increase in the coverage of well-baby clinics after the first year of life are definitely necessary, particularly for the poorest segments of the population. One important aspect which is a reason for concern is the enormous incidence of caesarean sections one of the highest ever registered in a population.

Keywords : Child health; Health surveys; Maternal and child health; Health services coverage; Quality of health care.

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