Health interventions in humanitarian crisis: a call for more quality research

Briefing papers
December 2013

There is an urgent need for a stronger scientific evidence base to inform health interventions in humanitarian crises. To address this problem, the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the Wellcome Trust commissioned a project to review the quality and depth of the available evidence, identify gaps and weaknesses and make recommendations for future work.

The project addresses communicable disease control, water, sanitation and hygiene, nutrition, sexual and reproductive health, including gender-based violence, mental and psychosocial health, non-communicable diseases, injuries and physical rehabilitation and health services and systems. The review also looks at contextual factors, such as access to health services, health assessment methods, coordination, accountability, health worker security and urbanisation. In all, some 700 studies were systematically reviewed, covering both published and grey literature, along with some 123 interviews with practitioners, policymakers and academics.The evidence review of research on health interventions in humanitarian crises, commissioned by Enhancing Learning and Research for Humanitarian Assistance (ELRHA) and funded by DFID and the Wellcome Trust, was led by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in partnership with The Harvard School of Public Health and the Humanitarian Policy Group at the Overseas Development Institute (ODI).