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A study in Brazil shows that social programs have prevented 1.4 million deaths among all ages over the past 20 years

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A study in Brazil shows that social programs have prevented 1.4 million deaths among all ages over the past 20 years

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Primary health care, conditional cash transfers and social pensions have prevented 1.4 million deaths of all ages in Brazil over the past two decades, according to a study coordinated by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal). If expanded, these programs could prevent an additional 1.3 million deaths and 6.6 million hospitalizations by 2030.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated poverty and social inequality worldwide, especially in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). In addition, the economic fallout from the ongoing war in Ukraine and rising inflation are expected to push even more people into poverty in the coming years. We call this a polycrisis: multiple crises that interact in such a way that their combined impact is greater than the sum of their parts.

In public health, deteriorating socio-economic conditions mean higher morbidity and mortality, especially among the most vulnerable people in LMICs. But social programs can mitigate the health consequences of economic crises.

Brazil has led one of the largest expansions of the welfare state Over the past two decades, a public universal health care system has been implemented, along with conditional cash transfer programs (Programa Bolsa Familia) for the poorest families and social pensions (Beneficio de Prestacao Continuada) for the elderly and disabled.

Reduction of hospital admissions and deaths

In this study, ISGlobal researcher Davide Rasella and his team evaluated the combined effect of these three programs (conditional cash transfers, social pensions and primary health care) on hospital admissions and deaths over almost two decades (from 2004 to 2019). The article ‘Current and Projected Mortality and Hospitalization Rates Associated with Conditional Cash Transfer, Social Pension, and Primary Health Care Programs in Brazil, 2000-2030’ was published in JAMA network opened

“This is the first study to conduct a nationwide combined evaluation of cash transfers, social pensions and primary health care over such a long period in an LMIC,” said Rasella, who coordinated the study.

Using data from 2,548 Brazilian municipalities, they show that high coverage of the three programs led to a decline in overall hospitalizations and mortality rates, especially among children under five and adults over 70. In total, between 2004 and 2004 1.46 million deaths prevented. 2019.

The research team then used forecasting methods to show that expanding the programs to the newly poor and vulnerable could prevent up to 1.3 million additional deaths by 2030.

“We clearly demonstrate that expanding these three programs is a viable strategy to mitigate the health impacts of the current global polycrisis,” said Daniella Cavalcanti, co-first author of the study. “On the contrary, austerity measures would only result in a large number of avoidable deaths.”

More information:
Current and projected mortality and hospitalization rates associated with conditional cash transfers, social pensions, and basic health care programs in Brazil, 2000-2030, JAMA network opened (2024). DOI: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2024.7519

Presented by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health


Quote: A study in Brazil shows that social programs have prevented 1.4 million deaths among all ages over the past 20 years (2024, April 22), retrieved April 22, 2024 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2024-04 -brazil-social-million-age-deaths.html

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