Online Program

Innovative Solutions to the Syrian Refugee Crisis: A Long-Term View

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 : 4:56 p.m. - 5:09 p.m.

Lara Jirmanus, MD, MPH, Connor's Center for Global Women's Health, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA
Claude Bruderlein, Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Cambridge
As the Syrian refugee crisis nears its fourth year, the international community increasingly recognizes the importance of a long-term approach.  The Harvard Syrian Refugee Study Group reviewed both peer-reviewed, public health literature as well as NGO and UN reports in search of innovative and regional solutions to the Syrian refugee crisis in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq.  Humanitarian crises are traditionally managed with a focus on short-term needs and prevention and containment of infectious diseases.  However, the long-term nature of the Syrian conflict, a significant chronic disease burden, and implications for regional political instability demand a new approach.  Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) cause 46% of deaths in Syria and NCDs also represent 10-25% of medical consults for Syrian refugees living in host countries.  Across the region, at least 50% of Syrian refugees endorse psychological complaints.  Cost remains a major barrier for healthcare access, and overburdened health systems drive social tensions between Syrian refugees and host populations.  We recommend a focus on long-term solutions to the crisis, including programs which address non-communicable diseases, mental health, social cohesion and political stability. This presentation will highlight innovative programs, which seek to address these areas in order to stimulate discussion on a new approach to the management of humanitarian crises.

Learning Areas:

Chronic disease management and prevention
Diversity and culture
Program planning
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Describe the burden of disease of the displaced Syrian population Differentiate between the traditional, short-term approach to management of humanitarian crises and a long-term, comprehensive view Identify innovative programs, which address the challenges of the Syrian crisis and discuss their implications for the care of refugee populations in the Middle East and around the world

Keyword(s): Refugees, Health Care Delivery

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I served as the health sector research coordinator for the Harvard Syrian Refugee study group, an initiative which explores the health literature, seeking innovative, sustainable solutions for the Syrian refugee crisis. in 2014, I worked as Chief Resident in the American University of Beirut Family Medicine Department, caring for Syrian refugees in community and mobile clinics in Lebanon. My current research is a community-based intervention involving Syrian refugees in Lebanon.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.