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[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Forced resettlement and child health in Lao PDR

Alison M. Buttenheim, MBA1, Harold Alderman, MS, PhD2, and Jed Friedman, PhD2. (1) Department of Community Health Sciences, UCLA School of Public Health, Box 951772, 41-257 CHS, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1772, 909 938 7879, abuttenheim@hotmail.com, (2) The World Bank Group, 1818 H Street NW, MSN3-306, Washington, DC 20433

Government policies in Lao PDR have forced widespread resettlement in the poor, rural, northern provinces of the country. Worldwide, government development projects, natural disasters, environmental degradation, and political conflict contribute to a growing population of more than 25 million internally-displaced persons. Anecdotal evidence suggests that resettlement constitutes a significant shock to households with far-reaching implications for health, human capital, and livelihood security. In this study we use recently-collected data from a school feeding program evaluation to analyze the causal effects of forced resettlement on child health and other human capital investments. Our sample includes 4,500 households containing at least one school-aged child interviewed in February 2006. Key household variables include assets, income sources, resettlement history, social capital, food security, and borrowing. Child-level variables include height, weight, hemoglobin, school enrollment and attendance, daily activities, and diet diversity. We use propensity-score matching techniques to adjust for unobserved health differences in resettled and stable households. Preliminary results suggest that resettlement is associated with poorer child health and reduced school attendance. The ability to self-insure against health and income shocks through diverse asset portfolios is also compromised by resettlement. Policy implications include the need to complement resettlement priorities with comprehensive support services for resettled populations.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Children's Health, Refugees

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No

[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Displaced Populations: Differing Causes, Common Needs

The 134th Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 4-8, 2006) of APHA