Health system and community responses to COVID-19 among Palestine refugees

This project studies the resilience of UNRWA health systems, and health and social care workers, as well as Palestine refugees living in crowded settlements in Gaza and Lebanon, in the context of COVID-19.

The study aims to understand how health systems can be resilient in their response to the COVID-19 pandemic and disease outbreaks generally, particularly in contexts where systems cater to the needs of refugees living in densely populated areas.

Further, we explore how community trust relates to the resilience of systems, including the effectiveness of their routine delivery of services and epidemic response measures.

The project is co-led by researchers at the Institute of Global Health and Development (IGHD) of QMU, Edinburgh, and the United Nations relief and work agency for Palestine refugees in the near east (UNRWA).

This research project is funded by Elrha’s Research for Health in Humanitarian Crises (R2HC) Programme, which aims to improve health outcomes by strengthening the evidence base for public health interventions in humanitarian crises.

R2HC is funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), Wellcome, and the UK National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

The study will directly inform UNRWA’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Gaza and Lebanon. Findings on stressors and wellbeing, and resilience of communities, health and social care workers, and wider UNRWA systems, will be made available to decision-makers to inform contextually tailored pandemic responses. Findings on how trust in UNRWA relates to the effectiveness of both routine service delivery and COVID-19 response in the two settings will inform programming of UNRWA and other agencies operating in the region. The project will pay particular attention to the needs and outcomes of persons affected by chronic diseases, mothers and children and disabled populations. More widely, findings will contribute to ongoing debates on health system and community resilience, including on how best to nurture resilience capacities in other health systems globally.

See our blogs:

Covid-19: A pandemic that is pushing Palestinians further into despair: Zeina Jamal

The experience of remote interviewing: Zeina Jamal

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