A recent UNDP backed study in Iraq has shown that a combination of sanctions, war and occupation has resulted in Iraq showing the world's worst evolution in child mortality: from an under-five mortality rate of 50 per 1000 live births in 1990, to 125 in 2005.
This is an annual deterioration of 6.1 per cent - a world record, well behind very poor and AIDS affected Botswana.
According to Iraqi Health Ministers the rate of child deaths has increased to 130 in 2006 even though at the outset of the 2003 war, the US administration pledged to cut Iraq's child mortality rate in half by 2005.
According to the United Nations Children's Agency (UNICEF), about one in 10 Iraqi children under five are underweight (acutely malnourished) and one in five are short for their age (chronically malnourished). Poor nutrition equals bad health.
But this is only the tip of the iceberg, according to Claire Hajaj, communications officer at the UNICEF Iraq Support Centre in Amman, who said: "Many Iraqi children may also be suffering from 'hidden hunger' - deficiencies in critical vitamins and minerals that are the building blocks for children's physical and intellectual development."
Hayder Hussainy, a senior official at the Iraqi Ministry of Health, states that approximately 50 per cent of Iraqi children suffer from some form of malnourishment.
Also important is the psychological impact of war and occupation. In a study entitled "The Psychological Effects of War on Iraqis", the Association of Iraqi Psychologists (AIP) reports that out of 2,000 people interviewed in all 18 Iraqi provinces, 92 per cent said they feared being killed in an explosion. Some 60 per cent of those interviewed said the level of violence had caused them to have panic attacks, which prevented them from going out because they feared they would be the next victims.
The AIP also surveyed over 1,000 children across Iraq and found that 92 per cent of children examined had learning impediments, largely attributable to the current climate of fear and insecurity. AIP's Marwan Abdullah, said: "The only thing they have on their minds are guns, bullets, death and a fear of the US occupation."
Information from:War Crimes: Pity the sick of Iraq