Healthcare in Rio de Janeiro is another complicated subject. Several projects are underway to improve this picture, but it still requires a lot of special attention.
Infant mortality rate is a main indicator used to measure health and quality of life. In Rio the rate varies greatly from region to region, depending on the corresponding human development indexes. In 2008, the city’s overall average was 19 deaths for every 1,000 live births until 12 months old. Barra da Tijuca, a richer neighborhood in the West Zone, recorded 6 deaths per 1,000 live births while Cidade de Deus had a rate of 21 deaths per 1,000 births. These figures show, once again, the disparity between rich and poor areas.
As for prenatal care for pregnant women in Rio, only 32% of women met the target of seven visits during pregnancy. The worst indexes are recorded in Cidade de Deus, in Jacarepaguá, where more than 60% of pregnant women do not complete their total number of examinations. The lack of prenatal care reflects the high percentage of infant mortality.
To change this situation, the Municipality relies on the Family Health program, which aims to decentralize services in order to improve services and thereby reduce maternal and infant mortality. In 2008, the program covered only 3.3% of the city. The goal is to arrive at 55% before 2013. Efforts will focus on the North Zone and West Zone where the population is most in need of services, and the incidence of mortality is higher. Another effort to improve healthcare in the city has been through the implementation of Emergency Care Units (ECUs) in various parts of the city.