Armed Conflict and Child Mortality: A Geospatial Analysis

Zachary Wagner , RAND Corporation
Sam Heft-Neal, Stanford University
Zulfiqar Bhutta, Aga Khan University
Robert Black, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Marshall Burke, Stanford University
Eran Bendavid, Stanford University

We study the impact of armed conflict on health outcomes for women and children by constructing datasets that matched (1) geocoded information on the location, timing, and intensity of 15,441 armed conflicts from 1990-2015 with (2) the location, timing, and survival of millions of women and children in 35 African countries. Armed conflict within 50km increased infant mortality by 7.7%. Increased infant mortality risk persisted up to 100km, and for 8 years after the conflict event. The number of infant deaths related to conflict were over three times the number of direct battle deaths. Mortality for women increased by 21% as a result of nearby conflict, much of which was the result of increased maternal mortality. Nearby conflict also increases the likelihood that children became orphans. Mortality of women and children is substantially and sustainably increased following conflict and several times greater than existing estimates of conflict’s effects.

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 Presented in Session 157. Violence and Health