Does reducing violence against women improve children’s health? The case of Cameroon

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International Journal of Research and Innovation in Social Science (IJRISS) | Volume VI, Issue VI, June 2022 | ISSN 2454–6186

 Does reducing violence against women improve children’s health? The case of Cameroon

 Christian T. LITCHEPAH1, Issidor. NOUMBA2, Mohammadou. NOUROU3

IJRISS Call for paper

1,3Faculty of Economics and Management, University of Maroua, Cameroon
2 Faculty of Economics and Management, University of Yaounde II Soa, Cameroon
1Corresponding author

Abstract: Improving child health is one of the sustainable development goals of the United Nations. It is also seen as a means of promoting their well-being. The empirical literature on the relationship between child health and domestic violence is less clear. Using quantitative data from the Cameroon Demographic Health Survey, this study explores the effect of domestic violence, as measured by physical, sexual and emotional abuse, on health indicators of birth weight, growth and occurrence of diarrhea episodes in children. Emphasis is placed on the potential endogeneity of domestic violence that could bias the relationship between child health and domestic violence. The econometric method used was either a probit with instrumental variable or a two-step least square. The results are mixed. We observe a non-significant effect of domestic violence, whatever its form, on the birth weight and growth of the child. On the other hand, a significant effect, albeit slight (10%), of physical violence on the contraction of diarrhea by the child was observed.

Key words: domestic violence, child health, household production

JEL-codes: D13, D63, I1

 Introduction

Violence has probably always been a part of human life. The various consequences can be seen in all parts of the world. Violence, whether self-inflicted, collective or directed against others, results in more than one million deaths per year and many more injuries (WHO, 2002). According to WHO (2013), nearly one-third of women worldwide who are in a couple relationship experience physical and/or sexual violence from their intimate partner. 23.2% of these acts are perpetrated in high-income countries and 24.6% in the Western Pacific regions. In the Mediterranean and South East Asia regions, the rates are 37% and 37.7% respectively. The prevalence of such violence therefore varies according to the region, the social context and even emergency situations such as epidemics. Domestic violence, especially intimate partner violence, is widespread and pervasive in Cameroon. The Cameroon Demographic and Health Survey (CDHS) (2018) estimates that 42% of women aged between 15-49 years suffer from this scourge. It has negative consequences on the health of children, which is one of the components of human capital.