Ethnic and racial inequalities in hospital admissions due to avoidable causes in under-five brazilian children, 2009-2014

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There has been a global increase in hospital admissions for primary care-sensitive conditions (PCSCs) as an indicator of effectiveness in primary health care. This article analyzes ethnic and racial inequalities in cause-related hospitalizations in under-five children in Brazil as a whole and the country’s five major geographic regions, with an emphasis on PCSCs and acute respiratory infections (ARIs). Using data from the Hospital Information Systems of the Brazilian Unified National Health System (SIH/SUS), 2009-2014, the authors calculated proportions, rates, and rate ratios for PCSCs, adjusted by sex and age after multiple imputation of missing data on color/race. The principal causes of hospitalization were respiratory tract infections (37.4%) and infectious and parasitic diseases (19.3%), and indigenous children were proportionally the most affected. Crude PCSC rates (per 1,000) were highest in indigenous children (97.3; 95%CI: 95.3-99.2), followed by brown or mixed-raced children (40.0; 95%CI: 39.8-40.1), while the lowest rates were in Asiandescendant children (14.8; 95%CI: 14.1-15.5). The highest adjusted rate ratios for PCSCs were seen among indigenous children compared to white children – 5.7 (95%CI: 3.9-8.4) for Brazil as a whole, reaching 5.9 (95%CI: 5.0-7.1) and 18.5 (95%CI: 16.5-20.7) in the North and Central, respectively, compared to white children. ARIs remained as important causes of pediatric hospitalizations in Brazil. Alarming ethnic and racial inequalities were observed in PCSCs, with indigenous children at a disadvantage. Improvements are needed in living conditions, sanitation, and subsistence, as well as guaranteed timely access to high-quality primary health care in the more vulnerable population groups, especially the indigenous peoples of the North and Central, in order to mitigate the health inequalities and meet the guidelines of the SUS and the Brazilian Constitution.




Farias, Y. N., Leite, I. D. C., Siqueira, M. A. M. T. D., & Cardoso, A. M. (2019). Ethnic and racial inequalities in hospital admissions due to avoidable causes in under-five brazilian children, 2009-2014. Cadernos de Saude Publica, 35.

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