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Child Health in Colombia
  1. Imti Choonara (imti.choonara{at}
  1. Derbyshire Children's Hospital, United Kingdom


    Colombia is typical of many Latin American countries in that a large proportion of the population live in poverty and there is a high degree of inequality1. 45% of the population live in poverty and 12% live in extreme poverty, i.e. below the indigence line2. There have been recent advances in reducing the number of people living in poverty (down from 56% to 45% between 2002 and 2006) and the number in extreme poverty (down from 22% to 12% over the same four year period)2. A major problem, however, has been that the inequality in income has increased over the last decade. The measure for income inequality is the GINI-coefficient with scores that range between 0 and 100. Scores of > 40 are suggestive of great inequality within the society and Colombia’s GINI-coefficient stood at 58.6 in the UN’s Human Development Report of 2007-83. Only seven other countries worldwide have a greater degree of inequality than Colombia. Inequalities in society have a major impact on health. The importance of tackling inequalities in order to improve health for the most disadvantaged communities within a society have been highlighted by the Commission of Social Determinants of Health which was established by the World Health Organization4.

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