Objective. Brazil's large socioeconomic inequalities together with the increase in neonatal mortality jeopardize the MDG-4 child mortality target by 2015. We measured inequality trends in neonatal and under five mortality across municipalities characterized by their socio-economic status in a period where major pro poor policies were implemented in Brazil to infer whether policies and interventions in newborn and child health have been successful in reaching the poor as well as the better off. Methods: Using data from the 5,507 municipalities in 1991 and 2000, we developed accurate estimates of neonatal mortality at municipality level and used these data to investigate inequality trends in neonatal and under five mortality across municipalities characterized by socio-economic status. Results: Child health policies and interventions have been more effective in reaching the better off than the worst off. Reduction of under five mortality at national level has been achieved by reducing the level of under five mortality among the better off. Poor municipalities suffer from worse newborn and child health than richer municipalities and the poor/rich gaps have increased. Conclusion: Our analysis highlights the importance of monitoring progress on MDGs at sub-national level and measuring inequality gaps to accurately target health and inter-sectoral policies. Further efforts are required to improve the measurement and monitoring of trends in neonatal and under five mortality at sub-national level, particularly in developing countries and countries with large socioeconomic inequalities.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Policy
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health