The Local Impact of Armed Conflict on Children’s Nutrition and Health Outcomes: Evidence from Chad


Year: 2019 HiCN Working Paper No. 301

This study examines the local and indirect impacts of the 2005-2010 armed conflict on under- five years’ old children’s nutrition and health outcomes in Chad. We exploit spatial variation of the number of attacks at the district level and assess the indirect impacts of mother’s exposure to the conflict on their less than five years old children’s anthropometrics. We use unique dataset from the 2014/2015 Demographic and Health Survey (DHS-MICS) with GPS location of households’ clusters combined with the 2005-2010 ACLED geo-localised data on armed conflict in Chad. Our empirical analysis establishes a negative and significant impact of armed conflict on children’s anthropometric Z scores as well as their likelihood of stunting, underweight, and wasting. We also find that mothers exposed to the conflict are more likely to have children with lower weight and size at birth. Our results are robust after purging the conflict-induced migration effects. Key mechanisms include mother’s access and utilisation of healthcare facilities and services. We found that mothers who were exposed to the conflict were neither likely to deliver their children in hospital, nor likely to take iron pills or Vitamin A during and after pregnancy. It is therefore crucial for the Chadian government and the international humanitarian community to implement genuine health policy interventions directed to mothers at childbearing age (15-49) in order to sustain their access and provision of health care facilities and services during and shortly after the end of conflict.

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