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Acute malnutrition and high childhood mortality related to Diarrhea, lessons from the 1991 Kurdish refugee crisis

Author: Yip R, Sharp TW
Year: 1993
Resource type: Article

Acute malnutrition and high childhood mortality related to Diarrhea, lessons from the 1991 Kurdish refugee crisis. Yip R, Sharp TW  Journal of the American Medical Association 1993; 270: 587-590

jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/gca?gca=270%2F5%2F587&submit.x=117&submit.y=6 Abstract only.

Abstract 

OBJECTIVE: To determine the extent, major causes, and contributory factors of high rates of morbidity and mortality among children at mountain camps along the Turkey-Iraq border during the 1991 Kurdish refugee crisis.
 

DESIGN: A cross-sectional rapid nutrition survey among children and a retrospective mortality survey covering a 2-month period from the onset of the crisis.

RESULTS: W/H measurements indicated that children under 2 years of age had suffered significant (P < .001) recent malnutrition likely the result of the high rates of diarrhea, which still affected 50% of the younger children. crude mortality rate for all ages was 8.9 per 1000 per month (expected rate, 0.6 per 1000); two thirds of the deaths occurred among children aged 5 years or younger, and half among infants younger than 1 year. An estimated 12% of all infants died during the first 2 months of the crisis. Most deaths were due to diarrhea, dehydration, and resulting malnutrition.

CONCLUSIONS: The high rates of malnutrition and mortality related to diarrhea in infants and younger children of Kurdish refugees took place rapidly despite prompt relief efforts and a previously healthy population. This experience underscores the need for early and aggressive public health management of sanitation, water sources, and diarrhea control programs to augment the traditional focus on food and medical relief during the emergency phase of a refugee crisis.

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Yip R, Sharp TW (1993). Acute malnutrition and high childhood mortality related to Diarrhea, lessons from the 1991 Kurdish refugee crisis. www.ennonline.net/kurdishrefugeediarrhoea

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