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Environment and Services Affect Child Survival in Latin American Cities

baby's feet with mom's hands

October 20, 2020

A recent publication from the Salud Urbana en América Latina (SALURBAL) project, which is based at the Dornsife School of Public Health's Urban Health Collaborative, highlighted inequalities in the chance children in the region have of surviving the first year of life, depending on the city in which they are born.

The study analyzed data between 2014 and 2016 from 286 cities in eight countries in the region (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Peru, and Panama).

On average, the infant mortality rate among all analyzed cities is 11.2 deaths per thousand live births. However, there are large differences not only between countries but also between the cities within individual countries.

Cities where there is greater social exclusion, with inadequate housing conditions and insufficient municipal provision of water, sanitation services, and public transport have higher infant mortality regardless of the country in which they are located.

“Cities play a vital role in reducing infant mortality in Latin America and achieving Sustainable Development Goals related to health in the region. Comprehensive and inclusive local strategies are needed to address the determinants of infant mortality that persist in the region and that are related to economic and social inequality,” said Ana Ortigoza, the SALURBAL researcher who led this work.

Improving the quality of housing, the availability of health services, and public transport in cities could improve infant survival in a region as urbanized as Latin America.

Learn more on the SALURBAL project's website

Salud Urbana en América Latina (SALURBAL) (“Urban Health in Latin America”) is a five-year multi-country research project coordinated by the Dornsife School of Public Health and based at Drexel’s Urban Health Collaborative. SALURBAL is funded by a $12 million grant from the Wellcome Trust; its principal investigator is Ana Diez Roux, MD, PhD, MPH, Dean and Distinguished University Professor of Epidemiology at the Dornsife School of Public Health.