Venezuela: Rapid Rise in Infant Mortality Linked to Health Care System Collapse

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
"By @plumavioleta "Atardecer en #caracas... #avebolivar # ccs #venezuela." via @PhotoRepost_app" by Pedro Fanega is licensed under CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0Ms Jenny García, PhD candidate
Institut National d’Études Démographiques INED
Institut de Démographie de l’université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne IDUP
Paris, France

Prof Gerardo Correa, MSc
Instituto de Investigaciones Económicas y Sociales IIES
Universidad Católica Andrés Bello UCAB
Caracas, Venezuela

Prof Brenda Rousset, PhD
Departamento de Estadística, Escuela de Sociología (FaCES)
Universidad Central de Venezuela UCV
Caracas, Venezuela

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: Venezuela, as many countries in Latin America, showed substantial improvements in infant mortality rates during the last 60 years. However, the decreasing pattern might be reversing. Recent socioeconomic and political events have led to a collapse in living standards, along with a breakdown of the health system. At the same time, a strict secrecy policy has ruled public institutions, and since 2013 the Venezuelan government stopped publishing mortality statistics.

This study attempts to fill this gap and estimate infant mortality using hospital and census data after 2013.

The main finding is that infant mortality rates in Venezuela may have stopped decreasing and started increasing in 2009 – around the time funding for the Venezuelan health system started to be substantially reduced. By 2016, the infant mortality rate was 21.1 deaths per 1000 live births, which is 1.4 times the rate in 2008 (15.0 deaths per 1000 live births), and equivalent to the rate recorded in the late 1990s, meaning 18 years of progress may have been lost.  Continue reading