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Why do child mortality rates fall? An analysis of the Nicaraguan experience.

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
American journal of public health
Publication Date
Volume
81
Issue
1
Pages
30–37
Identifiers
PMID: 1983913
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

A comprehensive review of available sources of mortality data was undertaken to document the changes that have occurred in infant mortality in Nicaragua over the last three decades. It was found that a rapid fall in infant mortality commenced in the early 1970s and has continued steadily since. Trends in several different factors which might have led to this breakthrough were examined including: income, nutrition, breastfeeding practices, maternal education, immunizations, access to health services, provision of water supplies and sanitation, and anti-malarial programs. Of these, improved access to health services appears to have been the most important factor. At a time when the number of hospital beds per capita was dropping, increasing numbers of health care professionals, particularly nurses, were becoming available to staff primary health care facilities built in the 1960s. These were provided at least partly in response to the growing political turmoil enveloping the nation at that time. Certain Nicaraguan cultural attributes may have added to the impact of the reforms. Efforts in the field of public health made since the 1979 insurrection appear to have maintained the decline in child mortality.

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