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[ Presenting plain-text part of multi-format email ] New evidence on the impact of war and sanctions on childhood mortality in Iraq, 1991-98 The July issue of Population Studies (an international journal for demographers and other population scientists) contains an article entitled ‘Annual mortality rates and excess deaths of children under five in Iraq, 1991-98’. It was produced by demographers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (the public health school of London University) and UNICEF. Although broadly in line with the commonly mentioned estimate of total deaths of under-fives (derived from a preliminary report from UNICEF), the estimates in this paper were produced using the most robust methods available and include estimates of mortality in the first month and first year of life. Here is the authors’ summary of the paper: Data from two parallel household surveys conducted in Iraq by UNICEF in 1999 show that under-five mortality declined steadily from 1974 to 1990, reaching about 63 per thousand live births in the period 1986-90. It then rose dramatically to 118 per thousand in 1991, the year of the Gulf War. The number of ‘excess’ under-five deaths (ie the number in excess of the number predicted from past trends) in Iraq between 1991 and 1998 was calculated assuming that, instead of the rates measured by the 1999 survey for this period, either (a) average mortality rates for the period 1986-90 had been maintained, or (b) mortality had continued to decline at the rate observed between 1974 and 1990. According to these calculations, the estimated number of excess deaths resulting from the Gulf War and its aftermath up to 1998 was between 400,000 (assumption a) and 500,000 (assumption b). There is a pre-publication version of the paper at http://www.lshtm.ac.uk/cps/public/index.html Subscribers to the print version of the Journal will be able to access the published version online later this month at http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/titles/00324728.html. Points to note in the paper 1. Childhood mortality rates in the South/Centre of Iraq declined steadily from the mid-1970s until the first Gulf War. In 1991, rates for infant mortality (deaths in the first year of life) and for those under five years of age soared to levels higher than those of the mid-1970s and stayed higher. 2. Childhood mortality rates in the North of Iraq (the region placed under UN administration after the war) were much higher than those in the South/Centre until the early 1980s, but were declining to converge with those of the South/Centre by the end of the 1980s. In 1991, the rates surged to the high levels of the late 1970s but declined sharply after the war, until 1993. From 1993 to 1998, the rates were stable at levels similar to those achieved in the South/Centre in the prewar period. 3. The authors of the article explicitly confine themselves to mortality estimates and do not attempt to explain or comment on their findings. They do however give references to explanatory literature, including UN reports that point to plausible reasons why (years before the implementation of the Oil-for-Food programme in 1997) child mortality rates declined in the North but not the South/Centre. For example, an FAO report cited refers to the North’s greater self-sufficiency in food – the region has “9% of the land area of Iraq but nearly 50% of the productive arable land”. The same report attributes the fact that famine was averted to ‘The effective nation-wide rationing system set up by the Government of Iraq in 1991” (Food and Agricultural Organization. 2000. Iraq. Assessment of the Food and Nutrition Situation. Rome: FAO.) John Simons Managing Editor, Population Studies _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk