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Primary Healthcare Quality in Conflict and Fragility: a subnational analysis of disparities using Population Health surveys
Authors: Marwa Ramadan, Hannah Tappis and William Brieger
Source: Conflict and Health , Volume 16, issue 36; DOI:
Topic(s): Health equity
Country: Africa
  Multiple African Countries
Published: JUN 2022
Abstract: Background: Recent global reports highlighted the importance of addressing the quality of care in all settings including fragile and conflict-affected situations (FCS), as a central strategy for the attainment of sustainable development goals and universal health coverage. Increased mortality burden in FCS reflects the inability to provide routine services of good quality. There is also paucity of research documenting the impact of conflict on the quality of care within fragile states including disparities in service delivery. This study addresses this measurement gap by examining disparities in the quality of primary healthcare services in four conflict-affected fragile states using proxy indicators. Methods: A secondary analysis of publicly available data sources was performed in four conflict-affected fragile states: Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, and Nigeria. Two main databases were utilized: the Demographic Health Survey and the Uppsala Conflict Data Program for information on components of care and conflict events, respectively. Three equity measures were computed for each country: absolute difference, concentration index, and coefficients of mixed-effects logistic regression. Each computed measure was then compared according to the intensity of organized violence events at the neighborhood level. Results: Overall, the four studied countries had poor quality of PHC services, with considerable subnational variation in the quality index. Poor quality of PHC services was not only limited to neighborhoods where medium or high intensity conflict was recorded but was also likely to be observed in neighborhoods with no or low intensity conflict. Both economic and educational disparities were observed in individual quality components in both categories of conflict intensity. Conclusion: Each of the four conflict-affected countries had an overall poor quality of PHC services with both economic and educational disparities in the individual components of the quality index, regardless of conflict intensity. Multi-sectoral efforts are needed to improve the quality of care and disparities in these settings, without a limited focus on sub-national areas where medium or high intensity conflict is recorded.