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MORBIDITY AND MORTALITY AMONG IRAQI CHILDREN FROM 1990 THROUGH 1998: Assessing the Impact of the Gulf War and Economic Sanctions Dr Richard Garfield (School of Public Health, Columbia University) studies the effect of war and sanctions on civilian populations. This paper was commissioned as an Occasional Paper by the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame and the Fourth Freedom Forum. ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Over the years there has been considerable debate about the extent to which mortality has risen in Iraq during the sanctions period. While in most countries international bodies rely on government statistics for mortality data those generated by the Iraqi Ministry of Health are now regarded with suspicion. Independent agencies have at times attempted to estimate mortality but their studies have not allowed generalisation to the whole country. At the same time, very good data on a variety of social indicators have been available since 1996. As under 5 child mortality is closely related to these social indicators estimates of mortality may be inferred from these data. Dr Garfield's paper does this. It is the most sophisticated estimation of child mortality that we have yet seen. The paper finds that the rise in the child mortality rate in Iraq accounted for between a minimum of 100,000 and a more likely estimate of 227,000 excess deaths among young children from August 1991 [a year after sanctions were imposed] through March 1998. About one quarter of these deaths were mainly associated with the Gulf war; most were primarily associated with sanctions. Mortality was highest in the southern governorates of the country and lowest in Baghdad. Mortality was higher in rural areas, among the poor, and among those families with lower educational achievement. The increase in mortality was caused mainly by diarrhea and respiratory illnesses. ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Colin Rowat Coordinator, Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq http://linux.clare.cam.ac.uk/casi King's College Cambridge CB2 1ST tel: +44 (0)468 056 984 England fax: +44 (0)1223 335 219