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Estimating Demographic Indicators in a Conflict-Affected Population in Eastern Sudan

  • Shannon Doocy (a1), Gilbert Burnham (a1) and Courtland Robinson (a1)

Abstract

Introduction:

Although the international community currently is focused on Darfur, it is important that the status of other conflict-affected populations throughout Sudan are not overlooked. For the past decade, the Beja population, located along the Sudan-Eritrea border, has been affected by a conflict that has drawn little attention from the international community.

Methods:

This study assessed crude mortality rates and other demographic characteristics using a mortality study nested within a nutrition assessment using cluster sampling methods.

Results:

The crude mortality rate among the Beja population in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA)-controlled territories between October 2003 and October 2004 was estimated at 1.4/10,000/day (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.2–1.6); the under five years of age mortality rate was estimated at 2.7/10,000/day (95% CI: 2.2–3.3). Both of these are elevated rates that exceed the accepted threshold to declare a humanitarian emergency.

Conclusions:

When considered with recent reports of elevated malnutrition rates, the status of Beja is critical by international standards. Study findings suggest that: (1) nesting demographic objectives into other planned assessments (such as nutrition) are a feasible and cost-effective means for non-governmental organizations to characterize beneficiary populations; and (2) the Beja residing in the NDA-controlled territories are facing elevated mortality and are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Shannon Doocy Department of International Health Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Suite E8132 615 N Wolfe Street Baltimore, MD 21205 USA E-mail: sdoocy@jhsph.edu

References

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1. Pantuliano, S: The Beja Urban Economy. Urban Agriculture Magazine 2000 1(2):1416.
2. United States Agency for International Development: Sudan Fiscal Year 2002 Congressional Budget Justification.Available at http://www.usaid.gov/ pubs/cbj2002/afr/sd/650-002.html. Accessed 02 December 2004.
3. Doocy, S, Vu, A, Marks, P, Burnham, G: Malnutrition in the conflict-affected Beja population in Northeastern Sudan: An emergency overlooked? Bulletin of Public Health Nutrition. submitted.
4. Samaritan's Purse International Relief (SPIR) and The Johns Hopkins Center for International Emergency, Disaster, and Refugee Studies (CIEDRS): Food Security and Malnutrition Among the Beja of North-East Sudan. Unpublished report, 2003.
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10. Pantuliano, S: Comprehensive Peace? Causes and consequences of underdevelopment and instability in Eastern Sudan. A 2005 NGO paper, commissioned by the International Rescue Committee with support from other NGOs.
11. UNICEF: Online statistical database. Demographic statistics for Sudan, 2003. Accessed 08 Apr 2005. Available at http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/ sudan_statistics.html.
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Keywords

Estimating Demographic Indicators in a Conflict-Affected Population in Eastern Sudan

  • Shannon Doocy (a1), Gilbert Burnham (a1) and Courtland Robinson (a1)

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