This chapter introduces and discusses to what extent policies focused on promoting maternal and infant health through public health services are or are not effective in the coverage area. The discussion is based on accounts of adolescents—mothers or still pregnant—and the assistance provided to them and their children through these services. The accounts, which are derived from an independent program of home visits to accompany these adolescents, are complemented by observations made by the visitation team about whether assistance provided by health services promote maternal and infant health and the rights of children and adolescents. To provide context, we present a panorama of current public-health policies and services aimed at mothers and infants in Brazil, as well as some health indicators for this population. Finally, we discuss the possibilities and challenges of promoting the healthy development of mothers and their children in these contexts.
Part of the book: Maternal and Child Health Matters Around the World