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IFS/STICERD/UCL Development Work in Progress Seminar

Forced Displacement, Mental Health, and Child Development: Evidence from the Rohingya Refugees

Abu Siddique (King's College London and Institute for Fiscal Studies), joint with Asad Islam, Tanvir Ahmed Mazumder, Tabassum Rahman & Tanvir Shatil

Thursday 16 March 2023 13:00 - 14:00

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Unless otherwise specified, in-person seminars are open to the public.

Those unable to join the seminars in-person are welcome to participate via zoom if the event is hybrid.


About this event

Forced displacement is a major driver of mental disorders among refugees worldwide. Poor mental health of adult refugees, particularly mothers, is also considered a risk factor for the psychological well-being and development of their children. In this study, we experimentally examine the extent to which a multifaceted psychosocial program improves the mental health of refugee mothers, and facilitates growth and development among children under the age of two. In partnership with BRAC, we ran a cluster randomized controlled trial on 3,500 Rohingya mother-child dyads in refugee camps in Bangladesh. Participants were given weekly psychosocial support for 44 weeks through peer volunteers, which includes psychoeducation and parenting support for mothers and play activities for both mothers and children. The intervention was largely successful and led to: (i) reductions in the psychological trauma and depression severity of mothers and children, (ii) improvements in communication, gross-motor, and problem-solving skills of children, and (iii) reductions in stunting and severe stunting. The intervention cost about $1 per dyad per week and is currently being scaled up in refugee camps in Bangladesh, where about seventeen thousand mother-child pairs now benefit from it.

This seminar series is jointly organized by the IFS, STICERD, and UCL.

IFS/STICERD/UCL Development Economics Work In Progress seminars are held on Thursdays in term time at 13:00-14:00, at the IFS, unless specified otherwise.

Seminar organisers: Oriana Bandiera (STICERD, LSE), Imran Rasul (UCL), Britta Augsburg (IFS) and Jonathan Weigel (LSE).

For further information please contact Britta Augsburg: britta_a@ifs.org.uk.

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