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Dr Abdulkarim is a medical doctor and an epidemiologist. Currently his work and his PhD at King's College focuses on health system strengthening in conflict settings. He is a co-investigator in a large NIHR funded project: Research for Health System Strengthening in northern Syria. He is also an associate fellow with the Global Health Programme at Chatham House. He is involved in several other projects and research with other academic and policy institutes including LSHTM, AUB, Chatham House and others. His research focuses on the public health impacts of conflict, protection of healthcare in conflict, health systems strengthening, and building health research capacity in conflict settings.

In 2013, Karim was training to be a neurosurgeon when his residency was interrupted by the war. He joined Save the Children in North West Syria, where he led the health response until 2017. Also, he was part of supporting the rebuilding of the health system in opposition controlled areas in Syria using a bottom up approach.

Dr Abdulkarim is a trustee member of two NGOs, Shafak and Refugee Trauma Initiative; a steering committee member of the Syria Public Health Network, and a general secretary of the Syrian British Medical Society.


  • Conflict and health;
  • Health Systems Strengthening in conflict settings
  • Violence against healthcare in conflict settings
  • Health governance
  • Research capacity strengthening


Ekzayez, A. (2021). Attacks on healthcare in the Syrian conflict: Drawing lessons from Syria to improve global reporting systems. London: Chatham House. 

Ekzayez, A., Alhaj Ahmad, Y., Alhaleb, H., & Checchi, F. (2021). The impact of armed conflict on utilisation of health services in north-west Syria: an observational study. Conflict and health, 15(1), [91]. 

Ekzayez, A., Olabi, A., Douedari, Y., et al. (2021). Health research in the Syrian conflict: opportunities for equitable and multidisciplinary collaboration. Journal Of Public Health. 

Abbara, A., & Ekzayez, A. (2021). Healthcare leadership in Syria during armed conflict and the pandemic. BMJ Global Health, 6(5), e005697. 

Ekzayez, A., & Sabouni, A. (2020). Targeting Healthcare in Syria. Journal Of Humanitarian Affairs, 2(2), 3-12. 

Ekzayez, Abdulkarim. 2020. "Partnerships With Local Organisations Are Vital For Conducting Health Research In Syria—Personal Reflections". Journal Of International Humanitarian Action 5 (1). 

Özvarış, Ş. B., Kayı, İ., Mardin, D., Sakarya, S., Ekzayez, A., Meagher, K., & Patel, P. (2020). COVID-19 barriers and response strategies for refugees and undocumented migrants in Turkey. Elsevier. 

Meagher, K., Patel, P., El Achi, N., Ekzayez, A., Sullivan, R., & Bowsher, G. (2020). “Having more women humanitarian leaders will help transform the humanitarian system”: challenges and opportunities for women leaders in conflict and humanitarian health. Conflict and health, 14(1), [84].

Abbara, A., Ekzayez, A., Tarakji, A., Khalil, M., & Sullivan, R. (2020). Sanctions on Syria. The Lancet Global Health, 8(11), [e1369]. 

El Achi, N., Honein-Abouhaidar, G., Rizk, A., Kobeissi, E., Papamichail, A., Meagher, K., Ekzayez, A., Abu-Sittah, G. S., & Patel, P. (2020). Assessing the capacity for conflict and health research in Lebanon: A qualitative study. Conflict and health, 14(1), [59]. 

Bdaiwi, Y., Rayes, D., Sabouni, A., Murad, L., Fouad, F., Zakaria, W., Hariri, M., Ekzayez, A., Tarakji, A., & Abbara, A. (2020). Challenges of providing healthcare worker education and training in protracted conflict: A focus on non-government controlled areas in north west Syria. Conflict and health, 14(1), [42]. 

Akik, C., Semaan, A., Shaker-Berbari, L., Jamaluddine, Z., E.Saad, G., Lopes, K., Constantin, J., Ekzayez, A., S. Singh, N., Blanchet, K., DeJong, J., & Ghattas, H. (2020). Responding to health needs of women, children and adolescents within Syria during conflict: intervention coverage, challenges and adaptations. Conflict and health, 14(1), [37]. 

Aggarwal A, Patel P, Lewison G, Ekzayez A, Coutts A, Fouad FM et al. The Profile of Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) research in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region: Analyzing the NCD burden, research outputs and international research collaboration. PLoS ONE. 2020 Apr 1;15(4). e0232077. 

Ekzayez, A., al-Khalil, M., Jasiem, M., Al Saleh, R., Alzoubi, Z., Meagher, K., & Patel, P. (2020). COVID-19 response in northwest Syria: innovation and community engagement in a complex conflict. Journal of Public Health, 42(3), 504–509. 

Ekzayez, A., Flecknoe, D., Lillywhite, L., Patel, P., Papamichail, A., Elbahtimy, H. (2019). The public health impact of chemical weapons: current knowledge and critical gaps. In progress of publication in a special supplement of the International Journal of Public Health. 

El Achi, N., Papamichail, A., Rizk, A., Lindsay, H., Menassa, M., Abdul-Khalek, R., Ekzayez, A., Dewachi, O., Patel, P. A conceptual framework for capacity strengthening of health research in conflict: the case of the Middle East and North Africa region. Global Health 15, 81 (2019) 

Bowsher, G., Papamichail, A., El Achi, N., Ekzayez, A., Roberts, B., Sullivan, R., & Patel, P. (2019). A narrative review of health research capacity strengthening in low and middle-income countries: lessons for conflict-affected areas. Globalization and health, 15(1), 23. 

Duclos, D., Ekzayez, A., Ghaddar, F., Checchi, F., & Blanchet, K. (2019). Localisation and cross-border assistance to deliver humanitarian health services in North-West Syria: A qualitative inquiry for the Lancet-AUB Commission on Syria. Conflict and Health, 13(1), 20. 

Diggle, E., Welsch, W., Sullivan, R., Alkema, G., Warsame, A., Wafai, M., Jasem, M., Ekzayez, A., Cummings, R. and Patel, P. (2017). The role of public health information in assistance to populations living in opposition and contested areas of Syria, 2012–2014. Conflict and Health, 11(1).

Further details

See Abdulkarim's research profile