Health interventions and historical infant mortality decline: milk depots in Spain (1900-1936)

Francisco Muñoz-Pradas, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

The role of public health has been a central topic in the classic debate about the historical mortality decline in Europe. One of the health initiatives implemented was that of the Milk Depots. Spain set up these centres from the early 20th century until the beginning of the Civil War. The goal of this paper is to evaluate the effect of this health intervention on the infant mortality decline during this period. This study employs three kinds of sources: Statistical Yearbooks, Official documents and Local Records produced by the same Milk Depot. It analyses data available for the entire country as well as one local case being the Barcelona Milk Depot (1904-1935). The main methodological issue deals with measuring the effect of the Milk Depot activities on the pattern of changes in infant mortality. Preliminary results suggest that Milk Depots have a positive but quite moderate effect on improving the rate of child survival.

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Presented in Poster Session 5: Contexts