The first year of the post-conflict period is a very fluid and little understood period of human development, and very little is known about the determinants of health outcomes in the period immediately after a cease-fire is agreed. Millions of families are affected by conflict related displacement around the world, and it is in the immediate post-conflict period that they consider returning to their place of origin.
A new paper published by MICROCON and written by Carlos Bozzoli and Tilman Brück, studies the effects of war and displacement on the health of children, using data collected as part of a large household survey from post-war northern Uganda in 2007.
It finds that children in displacement camps and those in returnee locations exhibit the same average sickness rates. Poor access to safe drinking water in return locations counteracts the positive health effects of camp decongestion for returnee populations, whilst the results suggest that overcrowding and inferior cooking fuels explain the high sickness rates in camps.
It is therefore important to provide better sanitation and drinking water access in return locations to improve the health status of conflict-affected children; and to provide better cooking technologies and more shelter in displacement camps. The results also highlight the need for better data and analysis in early post-war periods which can help to balance public health interventions, thereby strengthening the peace process.
You can download the paper here: http://www.microconflict.eu/publications/RWP24_CB_TB.pdf .