20101230 Impact of Conflict on Childrens Health and Disability

20101230 Impact of Conflict on Childrens Health and Disability
Background paper prepared for the Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2011  UNESCO
The hidden crisis: Armed conflict and education
Impact of Conflict on Children’s Health and Disability

Armed conflicts have changed in complexity and nature over the past few decades magnifying health challenges for children. Conflict impacts children’s health in four important ways. 
1. Conflict-driven displacement increases child death and injury, mainly through increased susceptibility to infectious disease from unsanitary living conditions.
2. Children have a higher risk of food insecurity and malnutrition during times of conflict.
3. Children, especially girls, are subjected to an increased risk of sexual violence from armed combatants during conflict.
4. Conflict induces long-term physical and psychological disability in children, especially among child soldiers.

This paper describes the direct and indirect impact of conflict on children’s health using selected data from studies over the past two decades. A literature review of journals was done to compile information and recent supplemental data was gathered from Web searches. Specific cases from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad, Southern Sudan, and Afghanistan are described to illustrate the four main ways conflict impacts children.