NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Latin American Children Benefiting From Better Care

December 12, 2002

The United Nations Children's Fund reported yesterday that Latin American countries -- particularly Mexico and Brazil -- have made some of the most significant advances in the developing world toward improving children's health and education levels.

Here are some of the group's findings:

  • Deaths of children younger than five were reduced in Latin America by about 25 percent in the past decade, polio was eradicated and tetanus was reduced by about 90 percent.
  • While traditional problems like infant mortality and illiteracy are slowly receding in Latin America, others -- including AIDS, the trafficking in girls and domestic violence are rising to take their place.
  • About 94 percent of eligible Latin American children are enrolled in elementary schools.
  • At least 85,000 children a year die as the result of domestic violence -- and malnutrition among children in Argentina is a serious problem.

Latin America remains the most economically unequal region of the world, according to Unicef, with severe consequences for most of its children. Despite improvements, almost half a million Latin American children die every year from curable ailments, such as dehydration and respiratory illnesses.

Source: Ginger Thompson, "In Study on Children's Welfare, Latin America Is Most Improved, New York Times, December 12, 2002.  


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