Introduction Prevention of hospitalisation is a public health challenge worldwide. Many of the reasons for hospitalisation in developing countries should be avoided by presence of effective health systems. The aim of the study was to identify the proportion of young children with history of avoidable hospitalisation in the previous 12 months in Brazil, in order to gain insight into distribution and causes of hospitalisation to inform policies to prevent children hospitalisation.
Methods Analysis of causes of avoidable hospitalisation among children under 2 years of age based on data from the Brazilian DHS 2006 conducted by the Ministry of Health. The data collection was carried out in households with children by means of interviews with their mothers or guardians.
Results Mothers or guardians of 1901 children were examined. 11.8% reported infants to have been hospitalised at least once in the previous 12 months. The proportion with at least one hospitalisation in the previous year were 2.0% from pneumonia, 3.2% from bronchitis, 2.6% from diarrhoea, 0.5% from accident and 3.6% from others causes.
Conclusion Respiratory and gastrointestinal diseases and accidents were predominant causes of hospitalisation of children under 2 years of age. The results demonstrate that prevention activities could be essential strategies in order to reduce proportions of hospitalisation among children under 2 years of age in Brazil at least by half. Besides, this study suggests that such investment in health promotion could improve the health profiles of children in developing countries.
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