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

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee 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.
South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infectionsi
X
November 28, 2014 3:31 PM
South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infections

South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
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.

All About America

AppleAndroid