Some 5,000,000 million African children, under the age of five, could possibly have died has as a result of conflict in the region, a new study indicated Friday.
The children die from preventable diseases because ongoing armed conflict blocks or restrict access to essential commodities such as clean water and basic health care.
"The impact of war generates a series of lethal but indirect impacts on communities caused by potentially preventable infectious diseases, malnutrition, and disruption of basic services such as water, sanitation, and maternal health care," Stanford University lead researcher, Eran Bendavid, said in a statement.
The Lancet medical journal-published study revealed that conflicts have a significant impact on child mortality on the continent, with about 7% of all child deaths occurring in the first year of the life of an infant who lives within 50 kilometers of conflict-prone regions when compared to conflict-free areas.
For every direct combat death in Africa, three infants die from war-related causes, the study noted.
The 5,000,000 deaths, which were recorded between 1995 and 2015, includes approximately 3,000,000 infants under the age of one, the study disclosed.
The study reviewed some 15,500 conflicts in 34 of Africa's 54 nations over two decades and examined data on conflict-related deaths, live births and child mortality rates.
Infant mortality rates were four times higher in areas where conflicts last five years or more, the study found.
“What we’re showing is that the effects [of war] last for a long time and require a long-term, sustained response,” Bendavid said.