Shaping the future: Our strategy for research and innovation in humanitarian response.

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We are funding eight new humanitarian health research studies, which were submitted under our 2019 Research for Health in Humanitarian Crises (R2HC) Annual Funding Call.

Our R2HC programme takes the unique approach of partnering academics with humanitarians and this year included the requirement of the inclusion of a research partner from the country of study. This call received 138 eligible research proposals submitted at the expression of interest stage, with 27 being invited to prepare full proposals.

The studies vary in length from 2.5 to four years. Although this was an open call spanning all health topics in humanitarian contexts, six of the studies have a primary or secondary focus on mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS). This will help further build on the body of evidence R2HC has been able to fund under the MHPSS theme.

Learn more about the STUDIES

Effectiveness of an evidence-based stepped care system for alcohol and other drug use problems among Congolese refugees in Zambia

Columbia University

This study aims to evaluate the effectiveness and implementation of a stepped-care alcohol and other drug services intervention, testing the SBIRT (screening, brief intervention & referral) approach, which has been used effectively for non-humanitarian settings, to find out if it is appropriate for refugee populations. The study participants will include both Congolese refugees and host community members in Mantapala, an integrated settlement in Zambia.

Integrating an evidence-based mental health intervention into primary health care to improve outcomes for refugees with hypertension, diabetes and epilepsy

International Rescue Committee

This research will examine the integration of the evidence-based Common Elements Treatment Approach (CETA) mental health intervention into existing non-communicable disease (NCD) care models, implemented by International Rescue Committee in refugee camps on the Thai border, working primarily with refugees from Myanmar. This proposal seeks to test whether the introduction of the intervention for refugees with NCDs improves their mental and physical health outcomes as well as reducing NCD behavioural risk factors.

Depression in the time of conflict: Evaluating community-based models of psychosocial care in Kachin, Myanmar

Innovations for Poverty Action

This study will evaluate a community-based mental health and psychosocial support programme in war-affected villages in Kachin State. The impact of community-based services in a remote conflict-affected setting will be measured. The cost-effectiveness of standard group and individual-based models of psychosocial first-aid, which will be contextualized for delivery in Myanmar and compared to a low-cost “self-help” group model, will be evaluated.

Effectiveness of a guided mental health chatbot for conflict-affected adolescents

World Health Organisation

This study aims to test whether an e-mental health chatbot developed by the WHO – STARS – is effective in reducing symptoms of emotional disorder among conflict-affected, older adolescent Syrian and Palestinian refugees in Jordan. The STARS chatbot has been designed to be as simple as possible, and to be feasible for use by adolescents including those with basic literacy.

Memory Training for Recovery- Adolescent (METRA): A brief intervention targeting psychological distress in adolescent refugees

Monash University

This study will evaluate the efficacy, feasibility, appropriateness and cost-effectiveness of Memory Training for Recovery-Adolescent (METRA), an innovative intervention targeting adolescent Afghan refugees based in Tehran or Kabul who are experiencing psychological distress. METRA is a low-intensity, low-cost, lay-delivered group intervention that can reduce symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and depression where impaired memory is associated with a variety of outcomes linked to recovery from PTSD and depression.

Evaluating stepped care for better mental health in Syrian refugees

University of New South Wales

This study is a randomized controlled trial of Syrian refugees experiencing distress due to persistent mental disorders in humanitarian crises. The intention is to evaluate the effectiveness of the small-group based Problem Management Plus (PM+) procedure and assess whether a stepped-care model can provide beneficial outcomes.

Evaluating the long-term effects of a multi-sectoral programme on the health of adolescent girls and their children in a drought prone setting in Kenya

Population Council Kenya

This study will evaluate the long-term health effects, including delayed pregnancy and improved birth outcomes, of a multi-sectoral programme for young adolescent (11-14 years) girls living in drought-affected areas in Kenya. The interventions were implemented between 2015-17 and include gender-based violence (GBV) prevention, conditional cash transfers, empowerment groups and financial education/savings.

Self-managed abortion: Barriers and opportunities in humanitarian settings in East Africa

Ibis Reproductive Health

This study will examine women’s experiences with abortion in refugee camps in Kenya and Uganda, highlighting critical gaps and estimating incidence. The research aims to contribute to the development of policy and programming guidance to improve information, access and use of abortion medication in humanitarian settings.

Profiles for these studies will be available soon

Photo credit: International Medical Corps UK

Funding for this research is made possible through our Research for Health in Humanitarian Crises (R2HC) programme, which is supported by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), Wellcome, and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

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