Principal Investigator: Dr Jason Hart (University of Bath)
This research seeks to address the current lack of evidence base about the response of refugee camp communities to public health directives established in response to COVID-19 in Gaza. The project will explore the consequences of a ‘stay at home’ policy in densely overcrowded and impoverished communities under threat of conflict-related violence where water is scarce and access to protective equipment such as masks very limited.
The project has been designed with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), as the main health, education and sanitation service provider in the camps.
Research will provide UNRWA and other agencies with:
To the best of the research team’s knowledge, this is the first study of the social and behavioural aspects of COVID-19 in refugee camps in the Middle East.
"It is critical to understand how communities living in protracted displacement are managing COVID-19, particularly given that the pandemic is compounded in this context by the on-going Israeli-Egyptian blockade of the Gaza Strip. This research will enable community perspectives surrounding the social and political life of COVID-19 to be at the core of the evolving humanitarian response to the crisis."
The outcome of this research will be a better-informed response to COVID-19 in Palestinian refugee camp communities.
This will be achieved by building an evidence base of current community practices surrounding COVID-19, and data on the interconnection between public health measures and protection issues. These outcomes will directly inform the evolving COVID-19 response in Palestinian refugee camps, and will be achieved through the following outputs:
Dr Mohammed Alruzzi a Research Associate at the University of Bath reflects on the dual challenge of COVID-19 and the blockade in accessing research participants in Gaza. Through engaging local community organisations, and creative use of WhatsApp, Skype, telephone calls and diary writing the community were successfully engaged in this research.View
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