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

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Principal Investigator: Dr. Karin Diaconu (Queen Margaret University)


The study aims to understand how health systems can be resilient in their response to the COVID-19 pandemic and disease outbreaks generally, particularly in contexts where systems cater to the needs of refugees living in densely populated areas. Further to this, the study will explore how community trust relates to the resilience of systems, including the effectiveness of their routine delivery of services and epidemic response measures.

Dr. Karin Diaconu

Principal Investigator

The resilience of health systems is increasingly being studied, however until now there has been limited emphasis on understanding how resilience relates to community trust in systems and inclusive, effective and equitable service delivery and crisis response. This study seeks to explore this relationship via a case-study of UNRWA and identify transferable lessons and strategies for nurturing resilience in other health systems globally.

Expected Outcomes

The study will directly inform UNRWA’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Gaza and Lebanon. Findings on stressors and wellbeing, and resilience of communities, health and social care workers, and wider UNRWA systems, will be made available to decision-makers to inform contextually tailored pandemic responses. Findings on how trust in UNRWA relates to the effectiveness of both routine service delivery and COVID-19 response in the two settings will inform programming of UNRWA and other agencies operating in the region.

The project will pay particular attention to the needs and outcomes of persons affected by chronic diseases, mothers and children and disabled populations. More widely, findings will contribute to ongoing debates on health system and community resilience, including on how best to nurture resilience capacities in other health systems globally.

Latest Updates

The experience of remote interviewing

Nov 2021

Zeina Jamal, PHD Candidate and Research Assistant at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh shares her experience of conducting remote interviews with Palestinians during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Covid-19: A pandemic that is pushing Palestinians further into despair

Nov 2021

In this blog post, Zeina Jamal, a member of the research team, reflects on how Covid-19 has impacted the lives of Palestinians living in both Lebanon and Gaza.


Infographic: community satisfaction and work dynamics during a pandemic

Jul 2021

QMU share a snapshot of the community’s level of satisfaction with the UNRWA staff and UNRWA staff's perception on work dynamics during the pandemic in Gaza.


Infographic: the realities of COVID-19

Apr 2021

This infographic produced from Queen Margaret University's survey data presents trends in adherence to COVID-19 protective measures, wellbeing, and food security among both the communities in Gaza and Lebanon, as well as UNRWA staff.


Infographic: COVID-19 survey complete

31 Mar 2021

This infographic represents the survey data collected by UNRWA and QMU from Health and Relief and Social Support workers. Key findings include that individuals follow advice to self-isolate, but are living in crowded homes, and that international organisations are the main source of COVID-19 information.


Photo-voice study complete

31 Mar 2021

Between 16/02-31/03 2021, UNRWA and QMU deployed a survey and photo-voice study in selected areas. Photos here were shared as part of this study and represent individuals’ experiences during the pandemic.

Health staff at Beit Hanoun Health Centre in Gaza wearing full personal protective equipment to protect themselves and others from the transmission of COVID-19 virus. @ 2020 UNRWA Photo by Dr. Nisreen Halabi
Photos from a survey and photo-voice study to represent experiences of the pandemic. Credit: QMU.

Related Resources

Video COVID-19

Event: Pragmatism and innovation – collecting data in fragile situations during COVID-19

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