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Lessons from the field: Confronting the challenges of health research in humanitarian crises

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©Image by UNICEF

Humanitarian crises, inclusive of armed conflict, forced displacement, natural disasters, and major disease outbreaks, affect hundreds of millions of lives around the world and take a staggering toll on human health, especially in low-resource settings. To better meet the health needs of people affected by humanitarian crises, organizations responding to these crises need to act on reliable evidence. Conducting the research needed to generate this evidence base is particularly challenging, although examples of high-quality, ethical, and actionable research in humanitarian settings do exist.

This collection of Research in Practice articles features analyses of the experiences of teams conducting research in the context of different humanitarian crises. Unlike traditional research papers, these case analyses focus on the research process, emphasizing the importance of research in humanitarian settings and providing critical analysis of unique challenges to conducting research in humanitarian settings and strategies used to address these challenges. The collection is published across Conflict and Health and BMC Public Health and will include ~23 case analyses addressing both protracted and acute crises, spanning ~18 different countries and covering diverse populations, diseases and health risk factors such as maternal and child health, nutrition, aging, mental health, environmental health, infectious disease, WASH, gender based violence and sexual reproductive health.

All case analyses in the collection have undergone the journals’ standard peer review processes and were commissioned by the Fogarty International Center of the U.S. National Institutes of Health as a part of a larger project on Advancing Health Research in Humanitarian Crises.

  1. Evidence of ‘what works’ in humanitarian programming is important for addressing the disruptive consequences of conflict and forced displacement. However, collecting robust scientific evidence, and ensuring co...

    Authors: Catherine Panter-Brick, Mark Eggerman, Alastair Ager, Kristin Hadfield and Rana Dajani

    Citation: Conflict and Health 2020 14:40

    Content type: Research in practice

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