Zika and health cuts blamed for rise in baby death rates in Brazil

From The Guardian
July 17, 2018

The number of children dying in their first year of life has risen in Brazil for the first time since 1990.

It’s a worrying setback for a country once seen as a model of poverty reduction.

The infant mortality rate rose by nearly 5% between 2015 and 2016, an increase health officials and specialists have blamed on the outbreak of the Zika virus that year, as well as cuts to health services prompted by an economic crisis from which Brazil is struggling to recover.

Fatima Marinho, director of the non-communicable diseases department and information and analysis at the health ministry, said she expects the 2017 figures to exceed the 2015 levels.

“We are going backwards, not forwards,” Marinho said. “We cannot go on with the situation. Or we lose everything we have gained in 15 years.”

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