Evaluation and Forecasting Analysis of the Association of Conditional Cash Transfer with Child Mortality in Latin America, 2000-2030

Daniella Medeiros Cavalcanti, José Alejandro Ordoñez, Temidayo Aransiola, Cristina Almeida, Juan Felipe Perdomo Díaz, Daniela Zuluaga Mayorga, Alejandro Zamudio Sosa, Renato Tasca, Tereza Campello, Luis Eugenio De Souza, Philipp Hessel, Carlos Chivardi, Ana L. Moncayo, Davide Rasella

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Importance: Latin America has implemented the world's largest and most consolidated conditional cash transfer (CCT) programs during the last 2 decades. As a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, poverty rates have markedly increased, and a large number of newly low-income individuals, especially children, have been left unprotected. Objective: To evaluate the association of CCT programs with child health in Latin American countries during the last 2 decades and forecast child mortality trends up to 2030 according to CCT alternative implementation options. Design, Setting, and Participants: This cohort study used a multicountry, longitudinal, ecological design with multivariable negative binomial regression models, which were adjusted for all relevant demographic, socioeconomic, and health care variables, integrating the retrospective impact evaluations from January 1, 2000, to December 31, 2019, with dynamic microsimulation models to forecast potential child mortality scenarios up to 2030. The study cohort included 4882 municipalities from Brazil, Ecuador, and Mexico with adequate quality of civil registration and vital statistics according to a validated multidimensional criterion. Data analysis was performed from September 2022 to February 2023. Exposure: Conditional cash transfer coverage of the target (lowest-income) population categorized into 4 levels: low (0%-29.9%), intermediate (30.0%-69.9%), high (70.0%-99.9%), and consolidated (≥100%). Main Outcomes and Measures: The main outcomes were mortality rates for those younger than 5 years and hospitalization rates (per 1000 live births), overall and by poverty-related causes (diarrheal, malnutrition, tuberculosis, malaria, lower respiratory tract infections, and HIV/AIDS), and the mortality rates for those younger than 5 years by age groups, namely, neonatal (0-28 days), postneonatal (28 days to 1 year), infant (<1 year), and toddler (1-4 years). Results: The retrospective analysis included 4882 municipalities. During the study period of January 1, 2000, to December 31, 2019, mortality in Brazil, Ecuador, and Mexico decreased by 7.8% in children and 6.5% in infants, and an increase in coverage of CCT programs of 76.8% was observed in these Latin American countries. Conditional cash transfer programs were associated with significant reductions of mortality rates in those younger than 5 years (rate ratio [RR], 0.76; 95% CI, 0.75-0.76), having prevented 738919 (95% CI, 695641-782104) child deaths during this period. The association of highest coverage of CCT programs was stronger with poverty-related diseases, such as malnutrition (RR, 0.33; 95% CI, 0.31-0.35), diarrhea (RR, 0.41; 95% CI, 0.40-0.43), lower respiratory tract infections (RR, 0.66, 95% CI, 0.65-0.68), malaria (RR, 0.76; 95% CI, 0.63-0.93), tuberculosis (RR, 0.62; 95% CI, 0.48-0.79), and HIV/AIDS (RR, 0.32; 95% CI, 0.28-0.37). Several sensitivity and triangulation analyses confirmed the robustness of the results. Considering a scenario of moderate economic crisis, a mitigation strategy that will increase the coverage of CCTs to protect those newly in poverty could reduce the mortality rate for those younger than 5 years by up to 17% (RR, 0.83; 95% CI, 0.80-0.85) and prevent 153601 (95% CI, 127441-180600) child deaths by 2030 in Brazil, Ecuador, and Mexico. Conclusions and Relevance: The results of this cohort study suggest that the expansion of CCT programs could strongly reduce childhood hospitalization and mortality in Latin America and should be considered an effective strategy to mitigate the health impact of the current global economic crisis in low- and middle-income countries.

Idioma originalInglés
Páginas (desde-hasta)E2323489
PublicaciónJAMA network open
EstadoPublicada - 14 jul. 2023

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