The NIHR Research Unit on Health in Situations of Fragility (RUHF) at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh focuses on contexts where displacement, conflict, pandemic disease or weak capacity makes the delivery of vital health services especially challenging.

Funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), the RUHF is one of thirteen Global Health Research Units across the UK to lead research in key areas of relevance to global development. Researchers at QMU's Institute for Global Health and Development (IGHD) work closely with the Unit's collaborative partners -the Global Health Institute, American University of Beirut (AUB), Lebanon, and the College of Medicine & Allied Health Science (COMAHS), Freetown, Sierra Leone.

Building on IGHD’s extensive previous work in these regions, RUHF is bringing together expertise from research clusters in health systems development and psychosocial wellbeing, integration and protection to develop a comprehensive ‘systems for health’ approach to addressing fragility and building resilience.

Although its work seeks to be of wide relevance to delivery of healthcare in situations of fragility, RUHF is especially focusing on two vital but commonly neglected areas of health provision in these contexts: mental health and psychosocial support and the treatment and prevention of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. 

The unit is hosted within QMU’s Institute for Global Health and Development (IGHD). IGHD is recognised as a world leader in two major areas of research – health systems and mental health provision and the work of the Unit brings together these two major strands.  

The unit’s work also build on ideas developed by the ReBUILD consortium, of which QMU is part, which focused on the study of post conflict health systems recovery in Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, Uganda and Cambodia. It will also draw on an ongoing project funded by the Wellcome Trust and UK Aid looking at the resilience of the health care system after the influx of refugees from Syria.


Funding Acknowledgement

This research was funded by the NIHR Global Health Research Programme 16/136/100

Department of Health Disclaimer

The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health.


NIHR Research Unit on Health in Fragility (RUHF)

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NIHR Research Unit on Health in Fragility (RUHF)

NIHR Research Unit on Health in Fragility (RUHF)
0131 474 0000
Professor Alastair Ager, Unit Director
“The UK government’s focus for international aid is increasingly in fragile settings. It is desperately important to understand how to deliver vital health services in these places. It is a great honour for IGHD’s work with partners in West Africa and the Middle East to be recognised as a suitable platform to develop understanding in this area and identify practical strategies to promote resilience”
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