Evidence on public health interventions in humanitarian crises

Journal articles or issues
June 2017
Karl Blanchet, Anita Ramesh, Severine Frison, Emily Warren, Mazeda Hossain, James Smith, Abigail Knight, Nathan Post, Christopher Lewis, Aniek Woodward, Maysoon Dahab, Alexander Ruby, Vera Sistenich, Sara Pantuliano, Dr Bayard Roberts

Over the past three decades, there has been a major increase in health-related activities across the world's largest humanitarian crises in Syria, Afghanistan, Central African Republic, DR Congo, Iraq, Libya, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen among others. Despite this increase, little is known about the effectiveness and efficiency of health interventions in humanitarian crises.

In responding to the call for a stronger evidence base, this article undertakes a systematic review of the quantity and quality of published evidence on public health interventions. Between 1980 and 2014, it examines health topics including communicable diseases, nutrition, non-communicable diseases and water, sanitation, and hygiene to identify key research gaps.

It highlights shortcomings in the breadth and quality of evidence on health interventions in humanitarian crises, and supports calls to scale up this research.