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Revista de Saúde Pública

Print version ISSN 0034-8910

Abstract

ALMEIDA, Wanessa da Silva de  and  SZWARCWALD, Célia Landmann. Infant mortality and geographic access to childbirth in Brazilian municipalities. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2012, vol.46, n.1, pp. 68-76.  Epub Jan 06, 2012. ISSN 0034-8910.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0034-89102012005000003.

OBJECTIVE: To analyze geographic access to hospital childbirth in Brazilian municipalities. METHODS: Information on deaths and births were analyzed in regards to appropriateness for calculating the infant mortality rate during the period 2005 to 2007, for the 5,564 Brazilian municipalities. Indicators of supply and geographic access to health services were calculated to express hospital childbirth access. A multivariate regression model was used to test the association between geographic access to childbirth and the infant mortality rate in municipalities with adequate vital information. RESULTS: Of the municipalities analyzed, 56% had adequate vital information, corresponding to 72% of Brazil's population. The geographic distance between the municipality of residence and municipality of hospitalization was inversely associated to population size, per capita income and the infant mortality rate, even when controlling for demographic and socioeconomic factors. CONCLUSIONS: Although important strategies have been developed in Brazil to improve the quality of care for pregnant women, actions to guarantee equal access to childbirth services are still insufficient. Large geographic distance to childbirth facility was identified as a risk factor for infant mortality, together with unequal supply of quality health services and lack of integration with primary care.

Keywords : Infant Mortality; Health Services Accessibility; Equity in Access; Health Inequalities; Geographic Distance.

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