See the latest information and resources from Elrha in relation to coronavirus (Covid-19)

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Principal Investigators: Diana Bowser and Donald Shepard (Brandeis University, Heller School for Social Policy and Management)


The purpose of this research is to:

  1. Determine the variation in implementation, and adherence to public health and social distancing policies during the COVID-19 outbreak among Venezuelan migrant refugees and Colombian citizens across 60 Colombian municipalities.
  2. Determine health care utilisation and costs among Venezuelan migrant refugees and Colombian citizens, by municipality.
  3. Assess the impact of implementation and adherence to public health policies on the rate of COVID-19 cases, health care utilisation, and mortality, by municipality.
  4. Use results to inform global policy and decision-making related to the process of re-opening, especially for countries with refugee and humanitarian populations.

Diana Bowser

Principal Investigator

"It is imperative, during this time, that we understand how individuals are responding to the public health and social distancing measures being put in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Examining these patterns across diverse and vulnerable populations is key. Support from Elrha for this project to understand the differential impact of COVID-19 on Venezuelan migrant refugee will allow a better understanding of this and future pandemics."

Donald Shepard

Principal Investigator

"Colombia’s system of universal health insurance generates an invaluable data base (called RIPS). It provides a unique opportunity to monitor the impact of social distancing and other policies across Colombia and to ascertain how results compare between Colombian and Venezuelan migrant residents."

Expected Outcomes

Three main activities will be undertaken to collect the needed data to answer our research questions:

  1. key informant interviews with public health officials including mayor’s offices and health departments across 60 municipalities;
  2. phone surveys with approximately 6,000 Venezuelan migrant refugees and 3,000 Colombian citizens, and
  3. health care utilization and cost analysis using the Colombian health care utilisation data base (Registro Individual de Prestación de Servicios –RIPS).

The analysis and results will lead to the development of policy briefs, dissemination to key stakeholders, including Venezuelan migrant refugees and academics, as well as at least two manuscripts. One will examine the uptake and implementation of public health and social distancing measures across 60 municipalities and one will examine the differential use and costs of health care services for Venezuelan migrant refugees and Colombian citizens.

Related Resources

Policy Brief COVID-19

Policy Brief: Strengthening the Humanitarian Response to COVID-19 in Colombia

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