The Atlas of Violence 2021, presented this Tuesday (31), reveals that the Brazilian State has not identified the reason for the death of 16,648 citizens in 2019. In ten years (since 2009), there are 121,457 Violent Deaths from Undetermined Causes (MVCI) in the country. David Marques, project coordinator at the Brazilian Public Security Forum (FBSP), explains that the responsibility for this deficit should be divided between divers entities and public authorities.
“Every year, you have a proportion of deaths from aggression, deaths from an external cause, which you cannot, at least initially, attest to whether that injury was due to an intentional action of another person, that is, a homicide, if it was an accident or if it was a self-inflicted injury (suicide). These are the three main types”, presents Marques.
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“In this case, how does the Health system improve this data? Through the exchange of information and articulation, with the municipal health secretariats, with the police, with the expertise, in short, you will qualify this base.”
The Atlas of Violence 2021, prepared by FBSP, Institute for Applied Economic Research (Ipea) and Jones dos Santos Neves Institute (IJSN), presents data from 2019, collected during 2020, the period in which the coronavirus pandemic spread cross country. “We can even understand that 2020 was an especially difficult year for the health system to qualify these data, due to the pandemic. But if you look at the historical series, you can see that this problem is prior”, explains Marques.
In 2019, Brazil reached the peak in the absolute number of deaths from undetermined causes in the decade, there were 16,648, 35.2% above 2018, when 12,310 did not have the reason for their death revealed by the State. Five years ago, in 2014, there were 9,788 undiagnosed deaths, 75% less.
Among the states that showed the highest increases, between 2018 and 2019, are Rio de Janeiro, where there was a 237% increase in the number of unidentified deaths, a jump from 1,440 to 4,774; in Acre, the increase was 180%, from 5 to 14; and in Rondônia there was a growth of 178% in the number of unknown deaths, going from 23 to 64.
For Marques, the blame for the lack of investigation into the cause of death cannot be blamed “only on the police, although in some states the institutes of expertise are linked to the police.”
“The skill qualification is a big challenge. Brazil has advanced in this, but mainly the poorest states still suffer from this precariousness. On the other hand, from the moment you do not have this quality, the police work needs to indicate data to clarify whether it is a homicide, a suicide or an accident, it would still depend on the construction of articulation for this police information to reach the Health system statistics. Talking about it, it seems pretty obvious. But at the end, this is not very obvious to be done”, concludes the FBSP researcher.
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drop in homicides
If the number of deaths without an identified cause grew 35.2% in 2019, compared to 2018, the number of homicides fell on a similar scale, 21%, falling from 57,956 to 45,503. In the Atlas of Violence 2021, the researchers explain that the increase in cases of deaths without a defined cause can mean an underreporting of murders.
“In short, the increase in violent deaths from undetermined causes makes it difficult to better understand the evolution of lethal violence in Brazil. Due to the size of this growth, the conclusion that there was a drop in the homicide rate in Brazil in 2019 is not invalidated, for example, but the precision of the magnitude of this decrease is reduced”, explain the researchers.
Elsewhere in the report, there is another mention of the seesaw between the drop in homicides and the rise in unidentified deaths. “Just as an example, it is possible to cite the dramatic situation in Rio de Janeiro, in which the homicide rate decreased 45.3% in 2019, while the MVCI rate increased 237% in the same year”, says the report.
Also according to the team, the inaccuracy of these data also affects the results of other indices of violence and groups, such as youth, blacks and non-blacks, indigenous people, women and men, and homicides by firearms.
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Edition: Vinícius Segalla