Armed conflict and child mortality in Africa: a geospatial analysis

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A substantial portion of child deaths in Africa take place in countries with recent history of armed conflict and political instability. However, the extent to which armed conflict is an important cause of child mortality, especially in Africa, remains unknown.

  • Overall, infants born within 30 miles of an armed conflict were nearly 8 percent more likely to die in their first year of life than those born in the same region during years when there was no conflict. And in cases where the conflict was “higher intensity” – meaning more than 1,000 people were killed in combat – an infant’s chance of dying was 27 percent greater than it would have been in peacetime.
  • Analysis of neonatal mortality identifies a strong effect of conflict in the year leading up to birth on survival in the first month of life, suggesting possible harms to maternal health and care during pregnancy, labour, and delivery; we find that the effect decreases by nearly 30% when excluding deaths in the first month of life.
  • Being born near a conflict results in increased risk of being stunted.

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