News / Africa

Conflict Fuels High Death Rate, Health Problems in Central African Republic

Decades of fighting, plus poverty, create public health disaster, study finds

Interviewers conducting surveys in the Central African Republic received thorough training before heading out into the field. During the actual survey, interviewers spent an hour or more with each respondent.
Interviewers conducting surveys in the Central African Republic received thorough training before heading out into the field. During the actual survey, interviewers spent an hour or more with each respondent.

Multimedia

Audio
Art Chimes

The Central African Republic has been plagued by poverty and violence for decades. A random household survey examines how the situation has affected residents' physical and mental health.

JAMA, the journal of the American Medical Association, features several research papers focusing on violence as a public health issue.

One looks at how conflict in the Central African Republic has resulted in increased illness, mental health issues, and death rates.  

Survey teams did individual interviews throughout the country to compile first-person information, and they recorded their data on smart phones, to protect privacy by not using paper records.

Almost one-third of the people said their physical health was bad or very bad. Symptoms of depression or anxiety were seen in more than half of those surveyed. And lead author Patrick Vinck says the death toll was staggering.

"What we found is that this is one of the countries where the people are dying at the fastest rate that you can imagine," he said.

Researchers adapted smart phones to help record responses, the first time such technology was used to conduct surveys in the Central African Republic.
Researchers adapted smart phones to help record responses, the first time such technology was used to conduct surveys in the Central African Republic.

"It's about five deaths per 1,000 people per month. The equivalent of six percent of the population dying every year. And that mortality rate is comparable to or even higher to what we have seen in eastern Congo or in the Darfur."

Vinck heads the Initiative for Vulnerable Populations at the University of California, Berkeley. He says the deaths and illness they found in the Central African Republic are not all directly caused by the conflict.

"There is really a situation of chronic poverty that underlies the conflict that in many ways is more terrible," Vinck explained. "And the result is that the people have very, very little hope. There is no reason why the international community can not come together to address this conflict and put sufficient pressure on the different actors so that they finally resolve their differences peacefully."

If conflict and violence in the Central African Republic sounds like a story about power and politics, it is. But speaking via Skype, Vinck says that doesn't mean it isn't also a public health issue.

"The reasons it was important for us to publish in the journal of the American Medical Association is that war is a major public health problem. The consequences on health are enormous. And whereas mortality is a very obvious aspect of it, there are many, many other consequences."

In addition to the academic paper in JAMA, the journal of the American Medical Association, Patrick Vinck has co-authored a 48-page study of the situation in the Central African Republic, published by the Human Rights Center at the University of California.

You May Like

Video Protests Continue in Ferguson, Spread to Other US Cities

Missouri officials say deployment of more than 2,000 National Guard soldiers helps curb second night of rampant arson and looting in Midwestern town More

Video Ebola, Crackdown on Illegals Hit Business in Guangzhou

Chinese city has largest community of Africans in Asia More

Video Legendary Lebanese Actress, Singer Sabah Dies at 87

Music and film diva, affectionately called 'Sabbouha' by millions of her fans, performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, Royal Albert Hall in London, Olympia in Paris, Sydney Opera House in Sydney More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid