Counting Matters

Riyadh Lafta, a physician and researcher based at Al-Mustansiriya University in Baghdad, Iraq, set out to document a more accurate death toll of the 2003 Iraq war that challenges early official US estimates.

His research called out the misleading official number the Bush administration originally provided that suggested 5,000 civilian deaths. Now, including the occupation and ongoing fighting, Lafta cites a range of 150,000 to over a million deaths. The updated numbers factor in the damage to health systems and the long-term impact of conflict. He explains his efforts, and the importance of striving for an accurate death toll, in a podcast with Humanosphere’s Tom Paulson.

Knowing why people are dying is helpful to design possible interventions, Lafta said. His work also offers lessons to address other conflicts, such as the Syrian war.
Source: Humanosphere

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