The Syria Public Health Network was established in early 2015 in response to calls for an independent and critical assessment of the humanitarian and health response to the crisis, from colleagues working in Syria and the wider region. It aims to create an independent and neutral space for discussion, analysis and to generate policy proposals for the types of health interventions and research that might help to address current and future health needs in Syria and the region.
A key function of the network is to improve understanding of the types of research and interventions that are taking place within the health response, and their political and social determinants. Workshops organised by the network incorporate key people working for UN agencies, donors, iNGOs, NGOs as well as academic researchers, journalists and those working on the ground in Syria and neighbouring countries.
During 2020, SPHN will continue our focus on Syrian refugee healthcare workers who reside in countries neighbouring Syria. In October 2017, we held a high level meeting with our partners at DFID and IIED (International Institute for Environment and Development) where we identified key challenges facing the Syrian informal health workforce in Lebanon. There were 30 participants at this meeting who spanned the academic, NGO, UN agencies and government spheres.
This was complemented by research on the ground in Lebanon which was funded by IIED's 'Urban Crisis Learning Fund.' The working paper for this was published in April 2018 (http://pubs.iied.org/10856IIED/). Through this research, we explored the roles of and challenges facing informal Syrian health workers in Lebanon.
This follows on from work exploring the current situation for Syrian healthcare workers for which we contributed to a background paper for a meeting at the Centre for Mediterranean Integration (Marseille) which was organised by the World Bank as part of their broader work on Strengthening Human Resources for Health and the Integration of Refugees into Host Community Health Systems. (http://cmimarseille.org/highlights/strengthening-human-resources-health-integration-refugees-host-community-health-systems)
North West Syria: Humanitarian Catastrophe
On 28th February 2020 we launched our policy brief 'North West Syria: Humanitarian Catastrophe' in which summarise the current situation where a further escalation of violence since 1st December 2019 has driven more than 948,000 of 3.7 million people in the area from their homes; 81% are women and children. In this brief, we highlight key health and humanitarian issues and recommendations for action; the first recommendation is of course the cessation of violence as without this, civilians will continue to suffer under bombardment.