Multipurpose cash transfers are used on a widespread basis in the Syrian refugee response; however, there is little to no evidence as to how they affect health in humanitarian crises.
A prospective cohort study was conducted from May 2018 through July 2019 to evaluate the impact of multi-purpose cash transfers on health care-seeking and expenditures for child, adult acute, and adult chronic illness by Syrian refugees in Lebanon. Households receiving cash transfers from UNHCR were compared to control households not receiving UNHCR cash transfers.
While multi-purpose cash transfers may have shown some positive effects, findings were mixed and they appear to be insufficient alone to address health utilisation and expenditures. A broader strategy addressing Syrian refugee health in Lebanon is needed of which multi-purpose cash transfers should be incorporated, with additional support such as additional conditional cash transfers for health.
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