Infant Mortality During Crises and Recovery
This research was undertaken within the context of the work by UNICEF's Department of Policy and Practice (DPP) on the impact of the global financial crisis on children. The paper starts with a desk review of the literature on the impact of economic downturn on infant mortality. Drawing on this, it examines the possible impact of the global economic crisis on child mortality. While there is scope for further improvement in understanding the links between economic trends and infant mortality, the available empirical evidence suggests that children face grave risks if the social impacts of the global slowdown are not mitigated. There is also a risk that the global slowdown can undermine recent progress in reducing infant mortality.
The analysis and evidence presented in the working paper underscore several key areas for policy responses: providing humanitarian relief, including health and nutrition interventions to the most hard-hit and vulnerable groups; expanding social protection to the poorest and most vulnerable; and resuscitating growth in a way that is pro-poor and ensures that the recovery of household incomes-notably among the poor and low income households-is robust and sustained.The main message for policymakers is that, based on empirical evidence related to past crises, the potential impact of the present crisis on infant mortality can be made less severe by implementing policies that protect children and women and ensure sufficient social investments in the first place.