Primary care physicians and infant mortality: evidence from Brazil

Letícia Xander Russo, Anthony Scott, Peter Sivey, Joilson Dias

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Primary health care has been recognized as a critical strategy for improving population health in developing countries. This paper investigates the effect of primary care physicians on the infant mortality rate in Brazil using a dynamic panel data approach. This method accounts for the endogeneity problem and the persistence of infant mortality over time. The empirical analysis uses an eight-year panel of municipalities between 2005 and 2012. The results indicate that primary care physician supply contributed to the decline of infant mortality in Brazil. An increase of one primary care physician per 10,000 population was associated with 7.08 fewer infant deaths per 10,000 live births. This suggests that, in addition to other determinants, primary care physicians can play an important role in accounting for the reduction of infant mortality rates.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0217614
Number of pages16
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2019
Externally publishedYes

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