ASSESSING THE LINKS BETWEEN CONFLICT, HEALTH AND DEVELOPMENT

Publication date:
12/2016
Author:
Bayard Roberts, Senior Lecturer in Health Systems and Policy, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
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Is conflict bad for health? The intuitive answer is yes. However, it is generally difficult to epidemiologically prove a direct causal link between armed conflict and worse health outcomes among civilians. This is largely because of contextually driven methodological limitations such as uncertain and limited baseline and longitudinal data that could help demonstrate temporal patterns over underlying secular trends (HSC, 2011). However, these epidemiological limitations should clearly not prevent us from drawing plausible, evidence-based associations between conflict and health. A large volume of descriptive data has highlighted that health outcomes are generally significantly worse among populations exposed to conflict and forced displacement when compared to those who are not exposed.