Funding Award for Healthcare in Conflict Zones Programme
King’s health and security researchers have been awarded over 7 million GBP to build research capacity and capability for the health sector in countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region impacted by conflict.
The focus of research will be on Turkey, Jordan, Palestine and Lebanon, but aims to build wider regional and global partnerships. The project - R4HC-MENA - will build sustainable research capacity in the MENA region in four specific areas: conflict and health; the political economy of health in conflict; cancer; and mental health research in regions of conflict.
It is funded by The Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), a £1.5 billion fund that supports cutting-edge research which addresses the global issues faced by developing countries, and was one of 37 projects to be awarded funding.
More details on each of the 37 grants can be found in the Growing research capability to meet the challenges faced by developing countries brochure.
The programme seeks to build research and policy capacity in understanding and treating non-communicable diseases in conflict-affected areas. Proper research capacity is vital to ensure that conflict impacted countries can plan for rational and affordable healthcare systems, sound economic policy and effective aid utilisation.
Professor Richard Sullivan, Co-Director at the Centre for Study of Conflict & Health at King's, commented:
"Conflict and health research has been a neglected area of global health despite its importance to the lives and well-being of over a 2 billion people living in insecurity, nearly 18% of the global population. Our focus with our MENA region partners is build research capacity in this space – bridging conflict, security, and health – to directly influence policy in critical areas such as mental health, cancer and the political economy of health."
By linking together partners across government, academia and NGOs, the program will translate research into policy and critically inform the development of affordable and equitable models of care in complex non-communicable diseases across the MENA and other regions affected by war.
Professor Rita Giacaman, from the Institute of Community and Public Health at Birzeit University in Palestine, said:
"'This project will be enriching, and so relevant to our need. This is not only because we will be increasing our understanding of mental disability and what works and what does not work in the local context, but it will also give our team here in occupied Palestine the benefit of comparison with other MENA countries."
The Research for Health in Conflict- Middle East and North Africa (R4HC-MENA) project is a partnership between leading experts within the fields of Cancer Policy, Global Health, Social Medicine, Palliative Care, Conflict and Security at King's, Imperial College and Cambridge with academic partners from Lebanon (American University of Beirut), Palestine (Birzeit University), Turkey (Hacettepe University) and Jordan (King Hussein Cancer Centre), as well as numerous international organisation such as the Union for International Cancer Control, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, Syrian Public health Network and Médecins Sans Frontières.
Professor Wyn Bowen, Head of the School of Security Studies at King’s, added:
“This important and innovative new project has the potential to be truly transformative in the advancement of real world knowledge and understanding in the field of conflict, health and security."