Preventable deaths in childhood, according to actions of the Unified Health System, Brazil

ABSTRACT: Objective: To analyze the mortality trend of children under five years of age living in Brazil and regions, using the “Brazilian List of Preventable Causes of Death.” Method: Ecological time-series study of mortality rate due to preventable and non-preventable causes, with corrections for ill-defined causes and underreporting of deaths from 2000 to 2013. Results: In Brazil, preventable death rates (5.1% per year) had a higher decrease compared with non-preventable ones (2.5% per year). Preventable causes associated with proper care during pregnancy had the highest concentration of deaths in 2013 (12,267) and the second lowest average percentage reduction in the year (2.1%) and for the period (24.4%). The South and Southeast regions had the lowest mortality rates in childhood. However, the Northeast region had the highest decrease in reducible child mortality (6.1% per year) and the Midwest, the lowest (3.5% per year). Conclusion: The decrease in childhood mortality rates was expected in the last decade, suggesting the progress in the response of health systems, in addition to improvements in health conditions and social determinants. Special attention should be given to pregnancy-related causes, i.e., expand the quality of prenatal care, in particular, due to fetal and newborn deaths resulted from maternal conditions, which increased significantly in the period (8,3% per year).