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Environment and Services Affect Child Survival in Latin American Cities

baby's feet with mom's hands

Philadelphia, USA, October 20, 2020


A recent publication from the Salud Urbana en América Latina (SALURBAL) project 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.

Click here to read the paper.

Urban Health in Latin America (SALURBAL) is a research project that aims to study how urban policies and the environment affect the health of residents of Latin American cities. The results of this project will serve as a reference to inform future policies and interventions to make cities healthier, more equitable and sustainable throughout the world. SALURBAL is funded by the Wellcome Trust.

In addition to Ortigoza, the other authors of the research are José A Tapia Granados (USA), J. Jaime Miranda (Peru), Marcio Alazraqui (Argentina), Diana Higuera (Colombia), Georgina Villamonte (Peru), Amélia Augusta de Lima Friche (Brazil), Tonatiuh Barrientos Gutierrez (Mexico) and Ana Diez Roux (USA).

For more information contact Andrea Bolinaga at